I've had little opportunity to participate in anything like you are
proposing, but after teaching for 25 years I would make the following
suggestions, based on my experiences:
1. We don't get any staff training or opportunities for curriculum
consultants, but if we did, I believe the teachers involved should get a
great deal of input. Conduct some surveys - what kind of training or
consultants would they like? No one appreciates the sudden scheduling of
some visiting artist or presentation that is totally irrelevant to what
they do in the classroom. It sends out a message like "you're really not
worth much - here is a real professional".
Plan in the spring or summer of one year for implementation the following year.
2. I don't know the dollar amount available for teacher training in my
school district, but I gurantee it is very little and it has never been
applied to specific instructional areas like the Arts. We're lucky if we
get a general workshop, for all district teachers, once a year.
3. Summer is the best time to implement things like artist-in-residence
programs for the coming year. Have teachers apply for a summer planning
session (that way you can judge who's really interested) and PAY THEM FOR
THEIR TIME. After school meetings, when you've really worked hard all day
and most often have other family obligations, really aren't conducive to
good, creative planning. Also, I don't teach the same stuff every year, but
I do have favorite lessons I like to always fit in, that I feel are
important to my curriculum. It gets difficult when suddenly you seem to be
rewarded with this opportunity to have an artist-in-residence - you're
supposed to feel overjoyed - yet you know you might have to give up
something important you had planned on teaching. Or perhaps you don't feel
you have adequate tiime to prepare your classes for it.
It is a common misconception that we Art teachers are so creative
and flexible that it doesn't matter to us if suddenly something new is
imposed on us. It does. Many of us plan our years out quite thoroughly.
While it is exciting to think of having an artist-in-residence or some
other innovative program, we like to be able to fit it into our curriculum.
The neatest presentation can become meaningless if there is nothing
relevant about it. We need time to integrate it into our plans, to prepare
our students for it, to relate it to previous lessons or Art History, and
to create some meaningful follow-up. If the Arts are truly to be valued by
society, they have to be more than just a school assembly or an "art in the
dark" slide presentation!