Subject: Re: Dealing w/a less than perfect physical teaching space.
Dear Y.R. Brown
I have had similar problems with my teaching space in a school that
while not as old as yours, is falling apart, and a community that won't
pitch in. What I have chosen to do is be the "Queen of D'Nile". I can't
change my facilities, so I teach in spite of them. I have always taught with
the idea that what I teach kids (high school), they could do in their own
'make shift' art studio at home...so the crummy space just brings home the
point that you don't need computers (don't have), or standing easels, or
space to walk around (it's pretty claustrophobic in the room), or legitimate
storage space. I was able to find lockers in the school that were not
occupied, and I am able to give each advanced student their own locker so
that helped a bit with the storage space. I did manage to get an set of
drawers from the trash of the drafting room, and use that for flat work.
Nothing matches...but hey! it works. You end up being very creative, and do
a bit of dumpster diving...but since I have the philosophy of "live your
life like no one else is in it" when it comes to the
administration/supervisors, I catch as catch can. Do a bit of subversive
propaganda about your situation by continually inviting the powers that be
in to see what wonderful things your students are doing. The last time my
assistant superintendent came by to see a puppet show, she was appallled at
how small the room was, and how little storage space there was (especially
once the puppet theater was enscounced in the middle of the tiny space!).
The upshot is this, when our program expanded for next year, by 2 teachers,
we were given a larger room to add to the two rooms we have now. The new
room was the maintenance departments (they moved to the old woodshop), and
has room for an art office, a kiln room, and a walk in closet with shelves.
I still can't believe it!