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Re: [teacherartexchange] troubled 5th grade class

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From: Maggie White (mwhiteaz_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 02 2006 - 12:20:55 PST


I was about to reply when I read Sheri's message; I agree that you
probably need to shorten your assignments so they can feel successful
really quickly. Also, find out what you can about your predecessor,
from both staff and students. Was s/he a perfectionist who expected too
much? Or who gave them pre-digested lessons that required little effort
or thought (you know, the kind where everything's precut/colored and all
they do is paste it or color it or something), and now you're asking
them to do both? Ask some of your more thoughtful students if there was
something about last year's art class they didn't like. They may have
had such a bad experience that art now leaves a bad taste in their mouths.

Having grown up in the South, I know that Yankees are still looked upon
with suspicion, especially in the smaller towns. If you're talking
loud and fast in a funny accent you might as well be from another
planet. A college friend (one of those steel magnolias) who worked in
movie production had some pretty funny stories about her stereotypical
Noo Yawk boss when they were filming in the South; she pretty much had
to follow after him and smoothe all the feathers of the locals that he
ruffled. Having taught for many years on a reservation, I learned that
as an outsider, I had to dampen my enthusiasm a bit, back off somewhat,
and let them come around to me. If you can handle it, ask your mentor
or other local if you come across too strong.

Maggie

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