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Re: Bad language in art- Help needed


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 14 2002 - 16:52:35 PST

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
art webpage -
> I'm struggling to justify my reasons. Someone help me out here. I feel I
> could have handled it better, tried to find other words to do the same job,
> found out what was going on. I was so taken by suprise I handled it badly.
> What would you have done? It happened at an after school art club. We are
> not teachers at the school. Shall I phone the headmistress tommorow? And say
> what?
> Steve
> U.K.

I was sensing as I was reading your response that you were a newer art
teacher until I spied your last paragraph where you said you were not a
teacher at this school generally. That might be one of your problems right
there. Kids can readily sense that you aren't a "normal" teacher...meaning
not being around all the time at their school teaching all day...and
therefore they are not subject to your discipline or expectations as they
normally would be. Get my drift?

Kids will try anything to test how far they can go with a newer teacher.
It's part of the game plan from the beginning of time. Denying a kid his
right to do anything he wants to is like askin' for big trouble. Look out!
Kids want boundaries and limits. Makes them feel safer to know that you are
on the ball and aware of what they're doing. I've found that overall they
are happier with boundaries. They like seating charts and organization
because they know the parameters of what you expect. My initial reaction
would have been to ask them to draw whatever they like at home but at school
there are being good taste. Kids know what "good taste" is. If
not...maybe this is a good time to learn. If he had denied my request, I
would have collected all the papers and stuck his in a drawer saving it for
parent conference. Maybe you don't have that opportunity to conference. I'm
sure a parent would appreciate your handling this as an opportunity for
Johnny to learn appropriate behavior. As a parent I would be MORE concerned
if it came home AFTER you had seen it and okayed it's message. By letting
him go home with it would have sent out that signal...that it was okay with

Personally...I would strongly suggest you have a quick "heads up" with the
headmistress tomorrow. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it (get all nervous
and such) but just calmly explain that you were concerned about a student's
remark on their paper and what suggestions she would make. Administrators
like when you ask questions like that because they feel all warm and fuzzy
inside thinking they're making an impact in your classroom and therefore the There's nothing worse than having a mad principal on the
warpath comin' at you when you've failed to warn them about a possible
parent confrontation. They want to know beforehand so THEY can be prepared.
Wouldn't you? She'll also feel comfortable that she can trust you in the
future to let her know of any other eventual problems. "Trust" is a good
thing and can take you many places and make good friends.

You'll probably not have any fallout but it's always good to be prepared.
I'm full of advice today, aren't I? Toodles.....Bunki