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Re: i need to VENT

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ejb35_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Thu Feb 08 2001 - 17:52:24 PST


My dear. I am 56 years old and had not been in the classroom for 30
years. I, too, volunteered for an inner city school. I, too, was
totally unprepared for the chaos, the constant classroom management
problems, the kids calling me names to my face, bad names. I had
plenty of supplies, but they were wasted, messed up, stolen, you name
it! I finally resorted to using scrap paper from school offices, and,
after buying 400 pencils and having none left after 2 months I
learned to have kids sign EVERYTHING out. I got stricter and stricter
as the year progressed and had constant headaches and heartaches.
Over the summer I talked to experienced art teacher friends, read
books on classroom management, vented and vented.I love this
listserv. It has been my sister, mother and best friend, so often. We
may not all agree, but we all support each other in our craft of
teaching. This fall I put most of what I had learned over the summer
into effect. On Monday I got 60 new students because of a split year,
and so far I am putting even more of what I learned into effect,
right away. There is no wiggle room. I called parents the first
day. "Please don't call my parents," a boy begged. "I never act up in
any other class." "Fine," I said. "Now you won't act up in mine,
either." I called. Some older wiser head than mine whispered in my
ear one day last year, "It's either you, or them." And it is. You are
so right. No courses in art teacher training give you the real low
down. The suburbs aren't much better as far as respect etc.
goes...even weapons, drugs, etc. The first year shouldn't be the hell
it is. It is a flaming hoop you have to jump through backwards and
blindfolded, every day. It is like the worst possible initiation into
the field, and the fact that everyone rolls their eyes and says "god
bless you," to first year teachers should be a hint that teacher
preparation programs could be more informative and practical. Keep
going. Put one foot in front of the other. Vent all you like. Cheers
and best regards, Jane in Brooklyn

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