I’ve been preparing for a workshop I’m hosting at our high school tomorrow and I keep thinking of all the things I can share. I’m going to have to narrow it down, because some of the teacher coming are presenting as well. I’m so excited to CONNECT and LEARN! This workshop is not just for art teachers…there will also be several teachers there who teach other subjects—some electives, some core. It will be a mix! EXCITING!
While I was making notes on different things, I came across some projects and info that made me think about how art teachers (and other electives/ non-core) are looked at by some of our co-workers, peers, parents and others. I like to think of it as the “dumb-jock” stereotype. We are looked at as the *EASY* subjects and some even refer to us as the classes that “don’t really matter.” I’ve had parents actually say that to me. I even had a parent tell me one time that all elective teachers do is pull a grade out of their butt for each student. HA! SERIOUSLY? Other teachers have been caught saying things like, “I wish I was the art teacher and got to have all the fun.” or “I should have gotten my degree in (said elective class here) so I wouldn’t have to give state tests.” Again, SERIOUSLY? My answer to that is… oh, let me add it to the list below… read on.
I came up with this rant to answer a lot of questions on why our “EASY” CLASSES are really very important and very essential to each and every person in this world.
1. Art is EVERYWHERE! If we didn’t have art we wouldn’t have awesome tennis shoes with bright colors and aerodynamic features which make us want to purchase them and run like gazelles. (well, I don’t run, but you might) We wouldn’t have photos of loved ones hanging in our halls, water bottles with a SUPERMAN S on it to make us feel super, clothes with any pattern, color or style, music to enjoy, dance, television, web-design, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwear! Ok, I think you get this first point. Whether or not you like to actually create art in any form, in some way, you USE IT. It’s everywhere!
2. Art has been proven to help all kinds of learning. Creating it helps develop problem solving. There have been studies on better test scores and how it helps make a student less likely to drop out of school (sometimes an elective class is the ONLY reason a student drags themselves out of bed and on to school). Art can stand alone and/or support. It’s awesome!
3. A teacher who says OR THINKS (because some people can hold their tongue) that an art or any other elective teacher for that matter is just coloring, singing, building, creating, finger painting, etc. every single day and does nothing else, but sing and dance in class, is a teacher/person who has no idea what we are about. Sure, we have fun, but it’s because we were CALLED TO DO THIS. If you are a core teacher who was not called to do an elective, you should be having fun doing what you do best just as we are with what we do best. Am I right? When any teacher complains about an elective teacher not being as hard-working or held accountable as much as OTHER teachers…this, to me, is just a reflection of the dark sadness they have in their heart about the vocation they are apparently “stuck” in. If you put me down for what I was called to do, that only tells me there is something wrong with you–NOT ME. I could go on… but I won’t. Oh, oh, oh, one more thing…WE DO HAVE TO HELP GIVE STATE TESTS. If only we could use being an elective teacher to get out of that! EVERYONE would want to be an elective teacher then! HA!
4. A parent or even a student who believes our classes are NOT IMPORTANT makes me giggle a little. As a parent, try to be around a child that has no time in their day to create or express themselves in a unique way. If all day a student only looks at letters and numbers and they have no time to run, play, create (talking about all electives here)–you will have a student who is about to explode when they get home. When a student believes an elective class is not important, most of the time, they just don’t think they are good at it.
5. I dedicate this number all to THE GRADE that somehow, SOME people think I pull out of my hind end. (including that parent that said it to me one time…that parent was also a teacher…*sigh*) So, what I do, I’m assuming, is look at the piece of art and just come up with a number. If that were the case, I think I’d just give 100s or 0s. It would either be a GO or a NO. THAT would make it easy. My grading system is so difficult at times. There are so many factors that go into grading a piece of art. It’s sooooo subjective. I must take in consideration all of these (VARIABLES): the student’s ability, the student’s attitude, the use of tools, the use of materials, the solution to the problem I’ve presented them, the actual final product. To add to all of those things I must decipher, I also have to remember that my opinion must not be a major factor in the work. Say a child uses tons of blue in their work and blue is my least favorite color…that cannot be a factor in the grade. It’s not like grading a multiple choice paper or worksheet (bad word) with definite answers on them. Some days, it’s MIND BOGGLING! Let me say this, I DO NOT PULL A GRADE OUT OF MY BOOTY OR FROM ANYWHERE ELSE THAT MIGHT BE IMPOSSIBLE OR IMAGINARY. The end.
6. We are not dumb. For real. We had to take all those college courses just as every other teacher did. The classes in our major were just different. I would love to see some of those core teachers try to pass some of the crazy art classes I had to take! It would be about as hilarious as me trying to pass an upper college level math class. No thank you.
7. I just like the number 7 and thought I’d end with it. I didn’t write this to offend, just to defend.
I’m soooooooo excited about the workshop tomorrow. I’m praying for a room full of fun, happy, excited people who are ready to CONNECT and LEARN! OHH BOY!!! MY FAVORITE!!!