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Re: Re:[teacherartexchange] artists as teachers


Date: Sun Jul 16 2006 - 21:26:38 PDT

Very good advise Jerry,
Susan in Ohio

----- Original Message -----
From: Jerry Vilenski <>
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2006 8:35 am
Subject: Re:[teacherartexchange] artists as teachers
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group

> I have read with great interest the string of
> responses regarding the old artist as teacher debate,
> mainly because I started some of it! I think it is
> time to unruffle some feathers and look at the issue
> from a slightly different angle. I think it was Woody
> Allen who said "those who can't, teach, and those who
> can't teach, teach gym"! If that didn't ruffle a few
> physical educators, I would be surprised. The point
> is, that when you teach in specialty areas, such as
> music, dance, physical education and visual art, it
> almost becomes incumbent upon those educators to, in
> effect, practice what you preach. To what degree a
> teacher does this is up to individual circumstances
> and desires. I have a family, and spend the majority
> of my personal time engaging in family activities. I
> have spent many of my summers painting--the outside of
> the house, the bedrooms, the hallways, not necessarily
> artwork. I have changed more than my share of diapers
> and attended all the soccer games, tennis and dance
> classes. At the same time, however, I have tried to
> set aside some time each year to creating art. I
> began teaching, like many of us, relatively unprepared
> by my university to real-life teaching. In those
> early years, I spent the majority of my time trying to
> be a better teacher. I started early on,however, to
> set some goals for myself. I decided to complete at
> least 2 painting per year. Then I increased it to 5,
> and then so on until I had amassed a body of work I
> could show and perhaps sell. Making money was not my
> goal-making art was my passion and something I
> considered part and parcel of my life as an educator.
> I believe this has enhanced my teaching in ways that
> are sometimes difficult to articulate. I can't
> imagine taking a music class from a teacher who
> doesn't play an instrument or sing at some level
> beyond school, or attending physical education from a
> teacher who doesn't participate in regular physical
> activiities themselves.
> In some ways, it is unfair that visual art teachers
> are often placed in a position of continuously proving
> to policy makers and the community the value of art
> education. It is unfair that the math teachers don't
> have to justify their programs by holding math
> exhibits. It is unfair, but true. And it is unfair
> that art teachers need to establish credibility to the
> community by practicing art, but that, in my opinion,
> is also true. If personal circumstances prevent some
> of you from following the path I have chosen, I fully
> understand how that happens. I'm sure many of you on
> this listserve could make me seem like a total slacker
> with the professional activities you engage in.
> Our goal as professional art educators should remain
> centered on our students, and somehow instilling the
> passion for art in them that we have in ourselves.
> How you do that is entirely up to you.
> Vigilance, Jerry
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