I have learned, over the years, to lightly draft out posters and signs with pencil, and then to do the actual lettering from right to left. I think Hebrew, which reads from right to left, was created for lefties. Perhaps there's a connection between Jewish genealogy and left-handedness? Interesting thought.
Today I made this 'Tree of Life' (above) for my Temple (it goes with a chart of names showing where they are posted on a large wall plaque). I used colored pencil, and washed my hands frequently to prevent the smudge. And I lettered the Hebrew, of course, from right to left.
This great meme (below) about writing left-handed came from here: image source
And I got to thinking about left-handedness as it relates to teaching art, creating art, being a left-handed art teacher, and teaching left-handed kids.
First of all, from the teaching standpoint, there's that darn whiteboard or blackboard. For my entire 36 years teaching, I found writing on the board while teaching to be a challenge. I'm sure you righties don't think about this, but when a lefty writes on the white or blackboard while teaching, by necessity they will walk in FRONT of what they writing. A righty will be walking away from it, to the right, as they write. It's a real challenge for us lefties, I think. Do other lefties agree with me?
Then there's weaving instructions, or instructions for zillions of other things that are more easily done in reverse direction by lefties. Years ago, I used to make large (using 36"dowels) God's eye weavings with 7th grade students. I had to instruct in two directions in order to make everyone successful. Here's some goofy younger kids, who made these awesome God's eyes in a summer art program I taught a few years back.
And don't get me started on calligraphy, or any other lettering done with a chisel-tip ink lettering pen ('C' nibs). Um, the thicks and the thins end up in the WRONG places. Plus you need special left-handed pen nibs, angled in the opposite direction, for us lefties. (And of course they cost more.). All of which makes it tough to demonstrate to a class of predominantly right-handed kids. Which I used to do, annually, for a 6th grade 'illuminated manuscript' project, when they were studying the Middle Ages.
And then there's the scissor problem. Some of you have read me ranting about lefty scissors a long time ago. But in case you haven't, the truth is, I'm NOT a fan. I cut right handed, and I encourage you to have your left-handed students learn to cut right-handed as well. Yes, there are perfectly good lefty and ambidextrous scissors. But here's the problem: the lefty kid HOLDS THE SCISSORS DIFFERENTLY in their left hand, making cutting more challenging. I mean, you've seen the way we lefties hold our pencils to write, often with our arm hooked up and over and hand pointing down, with our paper turned at a rakish angle, rather than up the way a righty writes. (Check out a photo of our President signing a document. You'll see the typical handwriting posture of a lefty.) Lefty kids often try to cut this way too. It's not pretty. And not effective either!
So what's my point? I don't know. Please, at least, if you are right-handed, be conscious of who your lefty students are and be sympathetic to their specific challenges. For example, think about where you put the paints on the tables so it can be reached easily by the lefty, or at least consider where the lefties sit. When I eat dinner out with family or friends, I always take a seat where I won't be bumping elbows. But the kids are too young to think of this themselves. I remember, in high school (a LONG time ago), taking an important standardized test in a teaching auditorium, the kind with little flip-up half size desks. They all were on the right side, really challenging for the lefty test-taker! It frustrated me enough that I still remember it, many decades later.
Luckily, we lefties are more ambidextrous than our right-handed peers. We have to learn to cope. After all, most computer mouses are set up on the right, the stick shift in my car is on the right, and then there's the utensils. If I tell you my iron is right-handed, I am NOT KIDDING. And the hand-mixer I use in the kitchen. You have to use these utensils over the cords if you use them left-handed. And you have to pour backwards out of a soup ladle. And angled spatulas are angled the wrong way... I knit right-handed. And while we have famous lefties with their guitars strung upside down (Paul McCartney), most lefties do not need to do that. We are tough, and flexible. Need I say more?
I'm proud to be a lefty. I consider myself in great company - Leonardo daVinci, Rembrandt, Vincent vanGogh, M.C. Escher; Bill Gates; President Obama, President Clinton, President Bush Sr, President Lincoln; Paul McCartney, Kurt Cobain, Lady Gaga, Jimi Hendrix; Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld; Julia Roberts, Judy Garland; Douglas Adams (author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books); Aristotle, Nietzsche; and, well, this is just scratching the bucket. Oh, and my dad. And probably my artist grandfather. By the way, I haven't even included any sports greats in my list. There are many.
Lefty's brains are wired differently; we think differently. I think it's a cool thing. I always said "LEFT ON!" to my lefty students.
Are you a lefty? Do you make any special considerations for your left-handed students? If you haven't thought about it before, maybe you should! After all, only left-handed people are in their right mind...