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Re: Seeking advice about a teaching opportunity.


From: Donald C. Arcement (arcement_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 13 2002 - 11:12:12 PDT

I would like to add to Bunki's list of what my H.S. Principal would have
said had I posed these questions to her:
This is Idus Arcement, by the way! Here goes...

----- Original Message -----
From: Bunki Kramer <>
To: ArtsEdNet Talk <>
Sent: Friday, July 12, 2002 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: Seeking advice about a teaching opportunity.

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....
>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
> level?

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

Well, you should provide me with that information, I'm not an art teacher.

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

Ask the librarian who is on vacation until September.

Our school district will have to scrounge-up a teacher's desk chair for you
that someone is no longer using. We don't have the funds for any extras...
you should be glad we fit art into our curriculum! If the state didn't
mandate at least one credit in a fine art in order to graduate, then you
would not have been hired. Idus

> 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?

Well, you will have the money that the state gives to you, after the
district is finished taking out what they think they need from the overall
fund! As for supplies to start with... you'll have to use your own money,
until you receive the student "donated" funds (you'll be blessed if you
receive half of what you asked for). Idus

> 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".

We have an occasional dinner together, for those who can make it. P.S. I've
heard about two dinners, and I've been here 3 years! I also had to pay for
my own both times!

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

Depends on the teacher.

Ditto, Bunki! "Oh, by the way, you can always beg for funding around town."

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

Depends on the student.

Ditto, Bunki! We have some characters here, but all in all they are just
"good ol' country kids". Idus

> 5. How involved are parents in school activities?

Depends on the parent.

Ditto again, Bunki. Unless it is a sport activity, we have very few parents
who want to help. Most of our teachers have to do all the participation if
there is going to be any. Idus

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

Ha. Depends on the art teacher.

Everything drawn and painted that no one else will do, but you'll have to do
that on your own time! Idus
> 1. What duties other than teaching will I be required to do?

Whatever I ask.

Anything and everything that I ask you to do. Remember, it's in your
contract, you know, it's snuck in right behind regular teacher's duties
("...and any other task deemed necessary by your School Board") By the way,
our School Board is local folks who are elected by the uneducated country
folk around here. Idus

> 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.

It will have to be on your own nickle and if the Board complains about
electricity, then you'll have to stop! Oh, and don't forget to turn off all
the lights and lock-up at night because if anything is stolen or destroyed,
YOU WILL HAVE to REPLACE IT! ... I am in a county that is one of the
lowest paid for teachers in the state of Mississippi. I probably make less
than alot of Wal-Mart employees! New Orleans Garbage Men make alot more
money than I do! Idus

> 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.

I, will evaluate you once a semester, but I may or may not give you the
results, it just depends on how much time I have. Idus

> •The Installation of blinds to accommodate the viewing of films and slides
> in the classroom.
> • 6-8’ tables for working vs. single desk and chairs.
> •The provision of fans, ceiling fans and/or portable A/C units to reduce
> 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
> 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".)

Ditto for Bunki's, except that they may never have the money to renovate or
improve in any way! Idus

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

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

About the same as Bunki's. You see, my District is just recently (in the
last 4 months) being expected to do electricity and other building projects
"up to code"! And this is only because they finally hired a REAL
electrician, instead of the "Good Ole' Boys" who used to be good friends
with the last Superintendant. Idus

> 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.

Ditto, except that you may not be allowed to do an activity, it will depend
on if some other teacher, who has been here longer, wants to fund raise or
have an activity. We can't have too many activities at one time! I will
also be the one who approves all fund raisers and I don't have to approve of
one it I don't want to, other teachers may have more seniority and require
that week to do their fund-raiser. Idus

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

See above...depends on the parent.

Same as my above... Idus

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

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

Not unless you choose to start one on your own time! IDus

> 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

You may be allowed to do that but, again, it depends on what and when and if
I approve it. Idus

> At this juncture I would like to seriously evaluate the teaching
> with the school, but I feel unable to do that until I receive a reply to
> 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
> 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
I too am sorry, but this is my circumstances, and I would have had fits
trying to even get ANYONE to answer me! Unfortunately, their ideals are not
our ideals. We teach because we care about the children and, the
administrators, usually for the power and the money. Most administrators
have forgotten what it was like to teach! But, like Bunki, it is humorous
for some of us to think of what we would have been told!!!

I wish you results that are revealing enough to give you a definite answer.
Hoping (and praying) that you decide soon, because I know you are anxious!
It is so exciting to start anew!!! Hang-in there... Idus

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