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Re: [teacherartexchange] Yet another twist...

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From: Woody Duncan (woodyduncan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Jul 07 2006 - 18:05:10 PDT


On Jul 7, 2006, at 5:34 PM, KPRS2 wrote:

> So, do you think a great art teacher can teach any media? any grade
> level? any ____ ? thoughts?
>
> I do believe that any great teacher can teach any subject if and
> only if
> they have a passion for the subject. A great teacher, by my
> definition has a
> passion for teaching and, above all, learning.

I too believe that any good "art teacher" could teach almost any
media or level.
But, be very careful how far you apply this concept. For a while I
had a new
principal who came from elementary who truly believed that "any
teacher" could
teach "any subject". She had me teaching two periods of reading. I
loved it and
did a hell of a good job. She had the PE teachers teaching math. I'm
sorry, but
this is crazy. I wrote protest letters to the state department of
education. I was
chastised for my public protests, but I was given back my full art
schedule.
I am certified to teach Visual Arts K-12, and that's all. I may have
loved reading
and worked hard to get my students to love it as well, but I was not
qualified
nor certified to teach it. I was lucky, they assigned the best
readers to me
and we had fun. I would have surly hurt the progress of students who
really
needed assistance. This same principal complained to our Band teacher
about her
substitute lesson plans because the principal said she would not be
able to teach
from them. The Band teacher said, "of course not you are not
qualified to teach
music." We need highly qualified teachers in every classroom teaching
subjects
they know well, and understand how to communicate their passion and love
for that subject to their students. We have far too many teachers in
classrooms
teaching subjects they only slightly understand. We need to recruit
and place
the best and brightest in front of our children if we want them to
get a real
quality education. Part of the recruitment is money, but most of it
is assigning
teachers using common sense. Two hours or two weeks of inservice does
not
make a qualified math or science teacher. I had many, many (non art)
teachers
say they would like to teach and get the outcomes I got from my
students. They asked
how to do it. My reply was cynical: "Five years of art courses in
college and
twenty years of experience." Now sharing with and helping other art
teachers,
this I did willingly all the time. But when it was suggested that 6th
grade art be
placed in the core classes and taught by the regular sixth grade
teachers, I put
my foot down. I quickly said, "I will not help any of them learn to
teach art. I have
spent too much time building a quality, sequential program to see it
watered down."
I said this in a meeting which included representatives of the
superintendent
sent to sell the new sixth grade structure for our school. It did not
happen.
We, as art teachers, have a responsibility to speak out and defend
good quality
teaching practices. Or, we get what we deserve.
                                Off My Chest, Woody

Woody, Retired in Albuquerque
         mailto:woodyduncan@comcast.net

35 Quality Middle School Art Lessons
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“The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork
is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction
of your artwork that soars.” from: “Art & Fear”

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