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Lesson Plans

Re: teacher preparation

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sidnie Miller (
Sun, 11 Jan 1998 10:34:09 -0800 (PST)

Dear Wendy, Well said, I agree with your general point that college just
can't prepare us for everything and much of it must be learned on the
firing line--but ed profs need to work in the field etc. The point I
wanted to make it that it amazes me how much art teachers are tenacious
about wanting to know everything in their field, as diverse as it is.
We are constantly seeking out classes on weekends and new ideas. I
love to go to art conferences--I always get great ideas and inspiration
and I really enjoy the comradarie (like this list). Compare yourself
to other teachers you work with--how many math and English etc. teachers
feel this way. I think our natural desire to know and love it all is
part of the problem--we keep feeling like someone in our education
cheated us of something because they didn't tell us everything in the
first place. How many math teachers feel that way--I don't mean to
be picking on math--just pick an area--they are perfectly content to
use whatever book the district picks and add a little enhancement
occasionally as a reward or toss in a couple of days of "hands-on"
a month to attempt to fulfill a commitment to visual learners.
We're lucky to be so disgruntled --it's because we want more and more.Sid
# Sidnie Miller #
# Elko Junior High School #
# 777 Country Club Drive #
# Elko, NV 89801 #
# 702-738-7236 #

On Sat, 10 Jan 1998, wendy sauls wrote:

> hi,
> i just have to jump into the teacher prep discussion. i am a florida s.u.
> and u of f grad. i got undergrad degrees in art ed and visual
> communication. i feel my art ed training was superlative and my studio
> classes were the norm. i had a studio prof who told us to "just make some
> art" and several others who were absolutely inspirational and whose
> teachings i refer to frequently.
> my teaching experiences (10 years) have been varied and challenging,
> probably similar to most other art teachers -. rural elementary and high
> school with severely economically disadvantaged students, at a similar
> in-town middle school, and now at a brand new m.s.
> i have grimaced at what i think are the frustrations most all of us
> experience - lack of budget for materials, lack of respect for
> education/intellect (i have been asked several times through the years if
> we have to go to college to teach art, if we had to take other courses
> besides art in college, etc.), shock at how the home life of some students
> is so drastically different than what we consider to be normal, feeling
> like there is never enough time to get things done, wondering why we can
> have a such a fabulous art museums yet few students go there outside of
> school field trips, trying to figure out how to make sure kids know about
> perspective and shading and the "classics" and how to look at and talk
> about art and are finding their favorite art and creating their personal
> definitions of beauty and making artworks that are both educational and
> personally fulfilling...i'm sure anyone else out there could pick up here
> and continue the list for almost an eternity, which brings me to my point!
> if i had gone to school long enough to learn about everything i feel i
> needed to know to be a good teacher, i would not have started teaching yet!
> no one told me, for example, that it is very important to make absolutely
> sure to make sure the lid is tightly and completely secured to a glaze jar
> before you begin to shake it, especially if it is a nearly full jar which
> needs to be shaken vigourously and also happens to have something in it
> which certain individuals may have a tremendous allergic reaction to, and
> most certainly if you are teaching over an hour away from your home and
> there are no substitutes available for your class because you are simply
> out in the boonies and you do not have a change of clothes at school,
> either... from that day on, though, i DID have spare clothes! and i was a
> lot more careful shaking things, and thankful that my students didn't laugh
> for too hard or too long, and helped me clean up the mess, and either
> didn't notice my tears or didn't mention them. i never learned in teacher
> prep what to do with so many of my kindergarteners who had those weird,
> oozing sores on their skin, what to do with the girl who came to me and
> told me about another teacher harassing her, or even exactly how to draw a
> finger pointing straight at you, like in the Uncle Sam poster.
> i think there are a lot of things we have to learn from experience, and
> sometimes the hard way. i think it would be great if, in our teacher prep,
> we could get some exposure and training in art making methods and
> techniques, but we can't learn them all. thank goodness for community ed
> classes and the public library, where you cheaply get instructions in
> almost every media! it would be nice to get some art history in, too -
> diversity is good - i learned almost solely about dewm's in my classes and
> have had to do lots of research to learn about MY favorite art (some call
> it "craft") from Oaxaca and the San Blas islands and Japan. halleluljah
> Internet! aesthetics, too, but if you think we art ed people are having a
> tough time of it, talk to someone in the philosophy department!
> most of us do experience frustrations teaching art and seem to be almost
> constantly working to improve our knowledge, repertoire, teaching/inspiring
> capabilities. i think the frustration and the struggle to improve has lots
> and lots of sources, starting with the dissonance from our (we as
> artists/art eds) outlook upon life in general and that of the rest of
> society in appreciating beauty, craftsmanship, imagination, creativity,
> etc... i also think some of this frustration may be because there are a
> lot of perfectionists and driven art teachers among us, who are never
> satisfied with average or mediocre but who strive for the stellar and no
> matter what kind of teacher prep they had, they will always be breaking
> their necks to be better. and there are, unfortunately, others who, no
> matter what training or prep they had, would stink.
> I do not think it is fair to dump the blame for our frustrations into the
> laps of OUR teachers.
> it wouldn't hurt to try to look back and identify some of those wonderous
> role models we have had (like Bunki and others have done) and thank them,
> to encourage those profs and others who gave us the gifts we use every day.
> i agree completely with those who have suggested art profs should and must
> come out into our classrooms on a regular basis, to stay in touch with
> reality. where i teach, they do - they come to our meetings, hear about
> our problems, and help us out. i know this is not the case in a lot of
> other situations, though. my suggestion for a change in teacher prep may
> not be too popular but its one i feel strongly about, and i guess this
> applies to all ed majors, but i think the other subject requirements for
> graduation AND certification requirements could be a little more stringent.
> math wasn't my favorite subject, but i was down right embarrassed about
> the ONE weenie math class i had to take to graduate. the florida state
> teacher certification exam, at least when i took it 10 years ago, was
> equally wimpy. and art ed majors should definitely have to take the same
> studio classes as art majors! while we're at it, maybe we should look at
> recertification requirements, too?
> it's ok, i'm well prepared for lots of boos, groans, and so forth...
> :)
> wendy
> Wendy Sauls
> Art Teacher, Kanapaha Middle School, Gainesville, FL
> Doctoral Student, Art Education, Florida State University
> wsauls