I don't know what you do. This past fall our 6th graders were getting
ready for conference night. They had to evaluate their performance in
each class. One young man that I had in class for the past 6 years said
that it didn't matter what he got in art - he wasn't going to need it
later, art wasn't important to him. This was especially hard to read
because over the years I had recommended him for special art classes
etc., I think I was a little hard on him in my written response. Maybe
a page or two about the scientists, doctors and mathematicians that are
also artists. The value of art in whatever he decided to do with his
life. (His dad is a doctor - I'm sure that is where he is headed...)
The power of observation, communicating in another language, maybe even
something about art being a higher level of thinking (I use that line on
my math groups...). Hey - it felt good...
For the most part, the community where my school is located is really an
arts friendly group. A lot of kids take lessons and classes outside of
school. But I still get the 'art doesn't count' and 'it's not
important' on a regular basis. Many times the parents I couldn't get to
come in for a conference in art, would be the same ones that would come
at the first call if I wanted to meet about math.
There is little support from the administration, they aren't really
proactive at all. This has been very frustrating for me because the
state assesses 5th and 8th graders on arts and humanities. (We are one
of the top schools in the state - but our A&H scores are pathetic). I
can't get any support for inservice for other teachers, responsibility
of the classroom teacher to become familiar with the core content... and
so on. I will not be the only one responsible for covering and
reinforcing all of the material if I only have the students for 40
minutes a week.
One thing that has helped me is a group of 20 or so parents that
volunteer in my room on a regular basis. There is a parent in my room
for 1 1/2 hours each day. They see what is going on and are my best
supporters. Many are not from the group of parents that I would
consider the 'arts friendly' group. The volunteer group started a few
years ago, with parents coming 2 or 3 times a week. The second year
there was a waiting list to work in the room even with an added day.
This year we went to 5 days - and if I needed more time with helpers I
could get it. They are wonderful.
Good luck - it sounds like you have done so much in the way of