I definately think that requiring a portfolio with a specific concentration
or theme of art ed majors will help change the view that we're "just art
ed" people. When I was about to graduate college, I was required to
participate in the senior show in our gallery. ALL the other types of art
majors had a class that specifically focused on building and presenting a
portfolio, and readying work for gallery showings. I wasn't required to
take it, and it didn't occur to me until much later how valuable it would
have been (at the time, I was simply relieved that it was one less class I
had to take, since I was double majoring in psychology). When it came time
to actually put up the show, I had no idea what I was doing. I was told
not to worry, since I was "just an art ed major - no one really expects
gallery-worthy work from me anyway." I was so incredibly offended! I am
still bitter about it - 7 years later!
Looking back on it now, it blows my mind that as an art ed major, I wasn't
required to take the portfolio/gallery prep class! It probably would have
been one of the most useful of all considering that as teachers, we're
expected to help seniors get portfolios ready for college entrance...not to
mention that we hang all our own shows!
One thing I wish had been covered more in my training is other art careers.
My HS students asked me all the time what kinds of things they should be
doing to help them enter a specific art career. All I had to offer them
was my best guess, and whatever research we could gather. Despite my
research into other art professions, I always feel a bit unprepared to
address those areas.
Grant writing, curriculum writing, fundraisers, supply ordering and
organization were all things I struggled with, and wish that I had been
more prepared for.
I would disagree with the push for art educators to get a BFA, and then
certification through a master's program. It's a wonderful idea in theory,
and if I had it all to do over again, I would have gotten a BFA. (And then
gotten certified via a concentrated alternative certification program, not
a master's) I say not a master's because in my situation, I was putting
myself through school. I needed to get out in the working world. Staying
the extra time to get a master's simply isn't feasible for many college
students. In addition, districts around me only pay about $300 to $500
more a year for a master's degree. In simple economical terms, it isn't
worth the extra debt in student loans. (I know...there are benefits beyond
economics for a master's degree, but $ is a large concern) Frankly, based
on my experience in education classes, I'd rather poke my own eyes out than
sit through any more ed classes than I absolutely had to. My vote is to
rid the ed classes of all the redundancies and concentrate the classes into
fewer, but more meaningful and intense courses, thereby freeing the
undergrad's schedule to include more studio or art history classes.