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Re: [teacherartexchange] Artist/Teacher Portfolio


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Jun 09 2006 - 21:40:27 PDT

On Jun 9, 2006, at 9:51 PM, Woody Duncan wrote:

> On Jun 9, 2006, at 11:47 AM, Amy Broady wrote:
>> But I do not feel that one HAS to be a practicing artist in order
>> to be a highly effective art educator.
>>> This is a situation that somewhat irks me about art teachers
>>> applying for jobs. Does it seem that we're the only ones
>>> expected to have a professional body of work, if not an actual
>>> exhibit schedule? Is the language arts applicant expected to
>>> have published, or at least show the Great American Novel in
>>> progress? Does the math applicant have to develop new theories
>>> of algorithms in her spare time? Does the science applicant
>>> spend the summer searching for a cure for cancer? Does the P.E.
>>> teacher bring in a teaching portfolio in a gym bag?
>>> Maggie, playing the devil's advocate
> I have always believed that art teachers who kept themselves active
> as an artist made much stronger teachers.
> Perhaps I don't mean a practicing artist, but at least a serious
> attempt at individual creative efforts.

This is always an interesting question.
I was at a retirement dinner tonight where the entertainment was
provided by a middle school jazz band. They were fantastic. And I
have to think they are fantastic because the director not only knows
how to teach and knows music, but he knows how to convey the "heart
and soul" of jazz. I don't know for sure, but I BET he practices
his craft.
My best friend is the P.E. department head and I know she looks for
evidence of personal skills in her applicants. And most P.E. teachers
coach something. Traditionally, those of us in the "special" areas
only get recognition through displays of skills. Nobody cares about
about how well we can write about or analyze the arts -- they want to
see art.
I always believed I brought something different to my teaching
because I was a practicing artist. Any body can teach skills...I'm
interested in teaching the creative process. Where do ideas come
from? I haven't been making much art lately and I'm suffering.
As I do my end of the year clean up, I'm picking out trash and seeing
potential in disregards. My kids are seeing me get excited about junk
and encouraging me to make the step to see through my ideas. I pick
through the trash and hold it up and say "what could this be?" and
get more creative thinking than I could ever imagine.
You bet I think it's important to let my students see how my mind
works. And, they should know I am more than "talk." Some days I work
in class and I just ask them to try to figure what I am thinking. If
they can figure how I'm thinking , hopefully they can apply it to
their own thinking. I want them to say my thinking sucks and tell
me why.

Even when I'm not making making my own art, the artist in me
prevails. The courage to be different is what I find hardest to
teach. I can only convey that courage if I take the time and effort
to test my own ideas. I don't want to be like the math or English
teacher that only teaches the conventions that will pass the tests. I
want to give my kids the path that makes the difference so they have
the courage to go down lonely roads. You will never find me teaching
anything to standards or proficiencies--- ain't the artist
way. The world expects the artist to be odd, so don't expect
to be under the same expectations as the english or math teacher.
They have rules---- we break the rules.


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