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Re: art school

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lindwood_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Tue Mar 25 2003 - 19:24:27 PST


Just want to mention that many private schools hire people who are
degreed in the subject they teach. I have an art studio degree. I was
hired 23 years ago at an excellent private school in Houston. I would
say that it is most likely more difficult to find just the right job in
a private school with a studio art degree (and not art ed), but most of
the people I know who teach in good private schools are not art ed
majors. Some are, many aren't. Those are just the people I know. In
my school, in all subjects, about 50% are ed majors, the other 50% have
degrees and masters degrees in the subject that they teach. TO be
honest, you would never know which ones are which. We all get along
great, and everyone at my school is a workaholic! I started out with
Frank Wachowiak's book, "Emphasis Art" as my "bible" during the first
year. IT's still an excellent book. I was also SO lucky to teach
alongside a fabulous veteran art teacher my first year. It was like
student teaching in my first year. I have to say, though, that I am
lucky, as teaching has come easily to me, and I manage children well.
It could be that you might not lke teaching after getting a fine arts
degree...what would you want to do then? It's nice that I had 40 more
hours of art classes as a fine arts major than I would have had in art
ed, but it was a risk jobwise, most likely. I don't know...many schools
might just ask you to go get certified if they like your work and you
have a history working with kids where people could write good recs for
you. I had a past history of working with autistic kids (funny...from
autistic to artistic???), and with troubled kids. That helped. I guess
that they figured that if I had worked with difficult children, had a
creative portfolio, could walk the walk and talk the talk, I was not
THAT big of a risk. I'll always be convinced that lucking into just
randomly selecting Wachowiak's book before my interview helped me
IMMENSELY!!! He writes an amazing text that covers everything from
childrens development levels to great quality project ideas with tips
and strategies for success all along the way. It's a wonderful way to
learn about the media children use, and to learn excellent techniques
for mixed media with kids. It covers printing, portraiture, painting,
coloring with pastels, crayons, etc., and offers a wealth of information
about mixing these medias together. He addresses classroom management,
etc. I gave this book to the teacher we hired this year who is a first
year art teacher. It felt SO GOOD to give someone new a chance. She
wanted it SO much, and she had subbed for me MANY times. I just knew
she was a complete natural. It's like she's done it all her life. I
feel like I have come full circle to be mentoring someone else after I
was mentored my first year so long ago. Oh, one thing she found in
Wachowiak's book yesterday...if you have linoleum print blocks that have
gotten too hard to carve, you can heat them on a hotplate and they
soften up again!!!! He's full of tips!

So, in the end, how do you choose which route to follow? I'm glad to
have the extra 40 art hours, but I learned classroom strategies quickly
from a master in my first year. I feel like fate just took care of me.
It is most likely EASIER to find a job with an art ed degree. Good
luck to you in your decision. Teaching art is hard work, but if you
enjoy kids and their art, it's a wonderful life!!! Enthusiasm and
passion is KEY!

Linda in Houston, from St. Johns School

Linda

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