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Re: Could you draw.....

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From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 26 2003 - 11:49:29 PDT


I wasn't going to respond to this thread because I am very opinionated about
this, but Larry Seiler always has something to say that makes me think a
bit. And I think what he has to say about weighing the costs and benefits of
what we say yes to is valuable.

I'm taking a break from writing curriculum and that's what I have been doing
since school got out. I'm not going to whine about the amount of time vs.
the compensation. It's a job to be done and I write damn good curriculum.
It's my job as department coordinator, even though I can't get anybody to
help me. But a good curriculum on the record is good for my department.

It's the other stuff --- the stuff you all refer to. The expectation that we
can just whip up some little art ditties at anybody's whim. (without the
consideration of time and cost, let alone the energy of effort and talent.)
I came to teaching after 20+years in design and illustration both in
business and free-lance. I learned a lot of hard lessons about worth. Those
lessons also taught me to be very diplomatic in what I choose to participate
in at school. I have a bit of savvy about what benefits. As department head
I get every phone call and request that starts with the letter "A"
(including little old ladies that have found some painting in their attic
that they think may be of worth and could I figure it out for them). School
board members are always asking me to help with some community effort. I
have to face the school board come budget time so I have to play politics on
that one.
My supply closet-- it belongs to the community, they pay for it through
taxes... It is NOT MY CLOSET, IT S NOT MY ROOM this is public money
if people are getting stuff from you that is hurting your curriculum then
you go through proper procedures but you have to remember this is not your
stuff. It took me a few years to get administration to understand that what
is ordered for art is not K-Mart. The classroom teachers have a separate
budget now.

Larry's post is about weighing options and benefits. Is that not what we do
in any job? What is still most beautiful about this country is that we have
the choices. I chose to give up the freedom of my freelance life for all
the wonders and pitfalls of public education. There is enough that I get
back from KIDS that keeps me in it. If my focus was administration and
politics I'd be out in a minute.
Our choice is that we are asked to solve all all kinds of problems
Our choice is that me make selections
Our choice is that sometimes we are a bit obsessive/compulsive thank
god
Our choice is to be within this system , faulted as it may be, and obsess on
how we can make it a better, workable system
Our choice is that we see young lives that need no matter the obstacles

Saying NO is not such a big deal if you have said YES enough

> Yep folks..we forge and plow forward...but still, all this has served to
> keep the reputation I developed for my personal artistic talents and success
> at a humble state. Everyday is a lesson in humility...and I got to believe
> God knows what He's doing.
god has always known about what we do in art art has always celebrated the
god that anybody believes in
god to me is greatness of destiny

I was in a meeting yesterday with Science, Math, and Social Studies
supervisors. We are making a presentation for the staff about connections.
The S.S. supervisor said "nothing matters but ART" "You math and science
people exist in places by yourself. History records it, but ART
brings it all together." Maybe someday, some will really listen to Howard
Garner.

Sometimes I think we spend too much time being discouraged and feeling
unappreciated.
Sometimes I think we forget the joy.
I think I know no art teacher that isn't an art teacher because he/she feels
it is not a reflection of the joy and the magic. (Oops too many double
negatives)

I'm 51, been working since I was 14 ooooy 37 years of cajoling and
manipulation to get what I want and learning and still not jaded.

Celebrate the Joy and have the courage to say yes or no to what is asked
of you. That is a god lesson. When we fear, when we are angry, when we
resent we are not giving god lessons.

Patty

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