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RE: displaying work


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jun 20 2001 - 14:00:16 PDT

Although I understand fully the legislation and directives that are supposed
to protect student's rights enacted within the past years, I fear we have
become slaves to the lawyers.

My father, a member of the Greatest Generation, doesn't understand at all,
when I complain that there are certain things I dare not do for fear of a
law suit. My father's generation, who battled a Depression and a World War,
who picked themselves up an ventured forward WITH INCREDIBLE COURAGE,
wonders why I'm afraid to even give a kid a well deserving hug.

When will we have the courage to say something as simple as" this is work
that deserves to be displayed "without regard to a fear that somebody's self
esteem will be offended.

If art is everything you want it to be than it is also nothing.

Now don't get me wrong. I believe on the elementary level something can
always be found from every child that deserves recognition. But, at some
point, there needs to be distinction. I wonder if what is so bad and
offensive in much of contemporary art is not a result of lack of direction
and distinction.

I teach high school, it's an elective program. I assume my students have
chosen this path and want and need some guidance into what is acceptable and
what is "crap." I often display work that is rich in content and thinking-
it may be primitive in technique, but my students understand that my lesson
is that they think. I tell my students that there will always be someone to
guide them in technique or even do it for them, but if the thought process
is not there, then they are not artists.

I require "thinking sketchbooks", engage my students in criteria for
rubrics, evaluate through self/peer/ and teacher reflection, always offer
the opportunity to redo and improve, and encourage, encourage, encourage
personal themes for expression.

I am looking for the day when some administrator says to a self indulgent
parent, that he/she trusts the judgement of the teacher. That " the district
has standards and curriculum and maybe your kid just didn't make it."

I am very tired of documenting every little move I make because some parent
may sue.

School ended for me yesterday. I have files and files of documentation that
I don't know what to do with. I did my job -- when will they.