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Lesson Plans


RE: Art Teacher Training

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sears, Ellen (ESears.us)
Wed, 7 Jan 1998 11:24:25 -0500


I started replying a few days ago, deleted it and have thought about
this subject off and on since then. I have been trying to read all of
the posts, but each time I think about my reply, I feel the subject has
changed -
so my thoughts:
I have taught art (k-8), middle school math and reading for 17 years.
When I was working on my under-graduate degree (education), it was
assumed that it was for high school - all of the courses were studios.
Methods didn't even come into play until senior year. I believe the
focus was on keeping attendance and loading the film projector. (Perhaps
I exaggerate.)

I took one three hour class with PE, music, and library science majors
to be certified for elementary. Several times I asked to take the art
class for educators (3 hrs) but told it wasn't for me... and it probably
wasn't. I was a lousy beginning teacher. I really didn't know what
small children were truly capable of, developmentally ready for etc.,..
No local curriculum, little in the way of state guidelines (which I
happened across only recently), and being the only art teacher in a one
school district - no support system. An no, I didn't join the state
association - you don't know what is there if you don't know about
it...

My masters is in elementary education K-8... I don't think that I could
really walk into a classroom now and not have the same feeling of
inadequacy. It has taken a lot of reading on my part, and I am sorry to
say trial and error to get where I am today - and I feel much better
about what I am doing.

Suggestions for change? Several professors in Ky were given a grant
from NSTA to introduce/ work with the National Standards in Math. I
was able to take 90 hours of PD with 30 other teachers (240 state wide)
on implementing the standards, use of manipulatives, assessment etc.
What a great opportunity, it has been a wonderful support system. Where
is it for Art?

Isolation and numbers of art teachers is a problem for me. I am it. We
are one school. This listserv has been wonderful.

What about grants for innovative lessons etc. I am working on a Toyota
TAPESTRY grant (up to $10000) with the elementary middle school science
teachers. The requirements for applying is that a middle school teacher
must teach at least 3 hours a day, an elementary classroom teacher must
teach 'some science'. I probably teach more science in my room than
some classroom teachers - but I can't apply. I get all sorts of
information on grants, study programs, classes... but all math and
science. Where is the Presidential Award for Art? Math and science
teachers who are selected at the state level are given $500 for PD,
national winners are given $7500 to use for science or math education in
their schools - any way they want... (Not to mention 5 days and 5 nights
for two in Washington D.C. - all expenses paid - dinner at the State
Department, dinner at the Air and Space Museum, curise on the river....
but I digress) -

So - no, I don't feel that I was 'prepared' adequetly, more time in the
classroom before (which is happening around here now).. for all subject
areas, not just art. I just wish there was more of a support system,
and maybe not always by subject areas - I really enjoy the study groups
that I have been a part of - because we all have (for the part)
educational philosophies that match.
I think that the schools have a responsibility to encourage/support PD,
jsut as I have a responsibility to continue on my own.
I think that in college, I had teachers that were truly inspiring - that
I try to remember when I am teaching - and they weren't all in the art
department/education department - but they trained me as an educator.
And I had some that I learned from because they taught me nothing.

So, I have gone round and round - and if you made it this far - great -
Ellen