Feeling like a Lefty

Being an art educator feels like being a lefty. You know what I mean, right? You don’t? Oh, you’re right-handed?! I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking about you when I said that. How rude of me. Let me try to explain it to you.

Can You Hear Me by Kathleen Kendall, art teacher
Can You Hear Me by Kathleen Kendall, art teacher

Feeling like a lefty means you regularly encounter things designed without considering your unique needs. It is having a smooth area under your finger tips and finger grips under your palm. It’s dragging your hand toward the fresh ink or graphite on the page, rather than away from it. It is realizing that every time you use a power tool you are at risk of serious injury because you’re holding it wrong. It is having the waiter at a fine restaurant turn the handle of your coffee cup to the right. (How considerate!) It is lifting the nozzle at the gas station and having to untwist the hose counterclockwise before turning it clockwise toward the tank. It is realizing that there are some things you are just going to have to learn to do like a right-handed person because the world you live in is not made for you.

That feeling when you realize yet another thing was designed only with right-handed people in mind is very similar to the feeling I get frequently as an art educator. Decisions are made without our unique needs in mind. In fact, decision makers don’t even know what the unique needs are. They don’t understand because they are not left-handed… I mean, art educators.

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2 thoughts on “Feeling like a Lefty”

  1. I am, in fact, left-handed but “converted” to right hand in result of “both-handed” (ambidextrous?) so… your metaphor actually seems pretty amusing to me. When giving instruction, I often demonstrate thing both-way so the left-handed one are not left out.
    Teaching art techniques to students who got transferred from having no previous art experience could be frustrating so I definitely could identify with the “frustrated art teachers.”
    I would say, “Start the early!”

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