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Re: Seeking advice about a teaching opportunity.


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Jul 12 2002 - 19:34:54 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526

>From: "Y.R. Brown" <>
> I am coming down to the wire in selecting my next teaching opportunity.... At
>this > juncture... respond in a thoughtful and critical way.

I'm glad Jackie wrote first and I agree you should proceed with your
questions until you get answers or meet an obstacle and then make your
decision. I'd also suggest you take the answers with a grain of salt. Unless
you get it in writing, things change.

I'm sitting here smiling (big stupid grin) because I could well imagine what
MY principal's answers would be to most of the questions IF I had asked the
same questions. I'll pose some examples of what MY principal would say...

> 1. May I have a copy of the scope and sequence for art at the middle school
> level?

A scope and sequence for art? Gee...IS there one?

> 5. What types of media resources are available onsite for art?

Ask the librarian who is on vacation until September.

> 6. What is the budget for the art program and how is it determined
> annually?

Hummm? Oh, we never really know because the district can't seem to figure
out how much we have in the coffers until February of the present year. Just
order until someone tells you to stop. But....make sure you get three
signatures and make 3 copies when you make out your order. If you charge the
kids a fee then you know you've got at LEAST that much money...but you can't
LEGALLY call it a "fee" because we can't force the issue so we have to call
it a "donation"...and you don't get much $$$ when you call it a "donation"
so....what was the question again?

> 1. Does the staff spend time together outside of normal school hours?

As far as I know only at the local bar for "happy hour" free (that's
F-R-E-E) appetizers and cheap drinks. I think they call it "TGIF".

> 3. How active are teachers in working with community organizations?

Depends on the teacher.

> 4. Tell me about the students who attend this school.

Depends on the student.

> 5. How involved are parents in school activities?

Depends on the parent.

> 7. What do you expect from the art teacher and the program?

Ha. Depends on the art teacher.

> 1. What duties other than teaching will I be required to do?

Whatever I ask.

> If I wanted to host an artist residency at the school to work with my
> students, how would the administration support that> activity?

As long as it doesn't involve $$$, my desk, my time, the superintendent, or
the newspaper, we can talk about it.

> 4. When, how and by whom will my work be evaluated

The new Vice Principal (who until recently taught 3rd grade for 3 years)
will evaluate you as a middle school art teacher. What more can you ask?
When? Sometime during the year if you remind him and he doesn't forget.

> ¥The Installation of blinds to accommodate the viewing of films and slides
> in the classroom.
> ¥ 6-8Õ tables for working vs. single desk and chairs.
> ¥The provision of fans, ceiling fans and/or portable A/C units to reduce the
> heat and humidity in the classroom.
> ¥ The Installation of additional storage and/or shelving.
> ¥ Bookshelves for research and reference materials for students to use in
> the classroom.
> ¥ The replacement of fluorescent light bulbs to full spectrum/true light
> bulbs that better reproduce sunlight and are less
> disturbing to children that have learning differences such as ADD(some
> children are annoyed/disturbed by the buzzing of
> the fluorescent light bulb).
> ¥ Painting of the room
> ¥ Installation of blackboards and/or bulletin boards.
> ¥Provision of a classroom designated (items would be used solely in the art
> classroom) slide projector, CD player, Monitor
> and VCR (with cart), 2-3 computers, and movie screen

Forget anything new or borrowed. There is no money for classroom changes.
When a school is 35 years old, the district will "renovate it" and then you
can ask...but not necessarily receive...your "wish list". (He's
thinking..."I don't want ANYTHING to come between me and my GOLDEN PARACHUTE
parachute, lady".)

>I have a
> respiratory condition that is gives me concern when I am in extreme heat or
> cold.

See a doctor and get a prescription. Might I suggest wearing heavy clothes
in layers?

> 1. May I have a copy of this year's activity calendar?

Here's a copy but the activities change again every month. We'll let you
know the changes a 1/2 week in advance. Don't plan anything around Christmas
or the last 2 weeks of school because that's when everything happens.

> 2. What parent support for the art program can I expect?

See above...depends on the parent.

> 3. Are there student groups involved with the art program at your building?

See on the.....oh, you get the picture.

> 4. What fund-raising activities have occurred at the school to support the
> art program and the media center?

Oh...yeah...fundraisers. We had one once. A spaghetti dinner. What a

> At this juncture I would like to seriously evaluate the teaching opportunity
> with the school, but I feel unable to do that until I receive a reply to my
> initial queries. I am at a crossroads here and I am getting a funny vibe
> that my time at the school could be riddled with this type of communication.
> Please advise. Thank YOU!> Yolanda R. Brown

I'm sorry, Yolanda. I know you're asking serious questions and are deeply
concerned. I wish all the best for you and hope you find the absolutely
PERFECT job. Unfortunately there is no "perfection" around my little teepee
but there is a requirement for humor! Toodles....Bunki
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