I want to respond to what Pam said in her recent post.
"The fact is that the non-artist
teachers out there are hurting the progress of art education in the public
schools by convincing administrators that art is really not a specialty that
requires any special expertise, experience, commitment or talent."
I respectfully disagree. I think unprofessional art educators who are not
actively involved in the subject in some way, may be hurting our profession.
Making art is not the only way to engage in the discipline of art. Knowledge
of the subject matter is essential and I agree with this. However, the subject
matter is not just making art...it is far beyond this.
I have seen art teachers who have a passion for art ideas, and art history who
make this work for them. I have seen art teachers who have a passion for
interdisciplinary studies and they make it work for them. I think good art
teachers find a way to use their own passions to figure out a way to engage and
involve students in art. I do not think one size fits all. The studio artist
model is but one, very successful way...it is not the only way.
Please consider a more expansive view of this whole situation and cheer on those
individuals who make it work in their classrooms in what ever way possible.
Art teachers, especially elementary art teachers, are my heroes. They work so
hard and it hurts that they receive such harsh criticism from colleagues. Let
us support our colleagues.
Quoting Pam Wellington <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> I know many of you have already spoken your mind on this subject but because
> this is so basic and very dear to my heart I just had to say something. I
> earned my MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art in their summer MFA
> program. At that time the program was led by Dr. Karen Carroll, one of the
> most articulate and well known art educators today. Her belief, based on
> years of experience, is that only committed working artists should be art
> educators. She then set about to begin the summer MFA program so that
> teachers could experience an intensive in residence Masters program which
> would work around their teaching schedules. The fact is that the non-artist
> teachers out there are hurting the progress of art education in the public
> schools by convincing administrators that art is really not a specialty that
> requires any special expertise, experience, commitment or talent. All you
> need is a basic education in teaching methods and anybody can do it. This
> philosophy has resulted in many school districts accross the country using
> this rational for cutting back on art programs and leaving it to the
> classroom teacher to teach art, just as they teach math, english, science,
> history,etc. But, the fact is that committed working artists are better art
> teachers in every way. Ego? I don't get that. If an individual has a
> problem with ego he/she would have that problem no matter what they did.
> Artist=ego is just silly and very unfair. I am department chair of my
> school and I am committed to hiring only art teachers who exhibit a
> committment to their own art making. Student respect goes up tenfold when
> they know and see that you experience the same struggles and issues they do.
> And, high school students need to see your skill in action. I have been
> tested over and over by my students, who want to make sure I can do as well
> as I teach. That challenge would be very scary and difficult to meet if I
> wasn't working regularly on my own art to keep my hand and eye sharp.
> Pam Wellington
> Boiling Springs High School, PA
> "uh, susan, i'm sure you didn't mean it in a way that
> would raise my hackles, but i strongly disagree with:
> " To be really honest if they were all that hot they
> would not be teaching." i understand that a "good"
> artist doesn't always make a good teacher, but here in
> our online community you can find an abundance of
> phenomenal artists who are fabulous teachers (even
> after they retire!). their work in art education and
> as artists is a huge source of inspiration to me as
> well as their students, i'm sure. be careful of
> sweeping generalities!
> :D wendy"
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