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[teacherartexchange] Teachers as Heroes - a twist to your portrait lesson


From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 16 2006 - 05:33:13 PST

Greetings Art Educators,

I know many of you do heroes portrait lessons.... How about having the
students select a teacher of theirs as a hero? Students who can not
contact a previous taecher could select one from this year. It should
be very easy to get "permission to use" photos.

You could start out by reading this "blurb" that Grace Hall sent me. I
know it has been around for a while. It was written by an assistant
principal in Ohio. Permission is granted to share it with you.

By J. Bradley:

Where are the heroes of today?" a radio talk show host thundered.

  He blames society's shortcomings on education. Too many people are
  looking for heroes in all the wrong places. Movie stars and rock
  musicians, athletes, and models aren't heroes; they're celebrities.
  Heroes abound in public schools, a fact that doesn't make the news.
  There is no precedent for the level of violence, drugs, broken homes,
  child abuse, and crime in today's America. Education didn't create
  these problems but deals with them every day.

  You want heroes?

  Consider Dave Sanders, the schoolteacher shot to death while trying to
  shield his students from two youths on a shooting rampage at Columbine
  High School in Littleton, Colorado. Sanders gave his life, along with
  12 students, and other less heralded heroes survived the Colorado blood bath.

  You want heroes?

  Jane Smith, a Fayetteville, NC teacher, was moved by the plight of one
  of her students, a boy dying for want of a kidney transplant. So this
  woman told the family of a 14 year old boy that she would give him one
  of her kidneys. And she did. When they subsequently appeared
  together hugging on the Today Show, even Katie Couric was near tears.
  You want heroes?

  Doris Dillon dreamed all her life of being a teacher. She not only
  made it, she was one of those wondrous teachers who could bring the
  best out of every single child. One of her fellow teachers in San Jose,
  Calif., said, "She could teach a rock to read."

  Suddenly she was stricken with Lou Gehrig's Disease which is always
  fatal, usually within five years. She asked to stay on job ... and
  did. When her voice was affected she communicated by computer.

  Did she go home? Absolutely not! She is running two elementary
  school libraries! When the disease was diagnosed, she wrote the staff
  and all the families that she had one last lesson to teach .... that dying
  is part of living. Her colleagues named her Teacher of the Year.

  You want heroes?

  Bob House, a teacher in Gay, Georgia, tried out for Who Wants to be a
  Millionaire. After he won the million dollars, a network film crew
  wanted to follow up to see how it had impacted his life. New cars?
  Big new house?
  Instead, they found both Bob House and his wife still teaching. They
  explained that it was what they had always wanted to do with their
  lives and that would not change. The community was both stunned and

  You want heroes?

  Last year the average school teacher spent $468 of their own money for
  student necessities ... workbooks, pencils .. supplies kids had to
  have but could not afford. That's a lot of money from the pockets of the
  most poorly paid teachers in the industrial world.

  Schools don't teach values? The critics are dead wrong.

  Public education provides more Sunday School teachers than any other
  profession. The average teacher works more hours in nine months than
  the average 40-hour employee does in a year.

  You want heroes?

  For millions of kids, the hug they get from a teacher is the only hug
  they will get that day because the nation is living through the worst
  parenting in history.
  An Argyle, Texas kindergarten teacher hugs her little 5 and 6
  year-olds so much that both the boys and the girls run up and hug
her when they
  see her in the hall, at the football games, or in the malls years later.

  A Michigan principal moved me to tears with the story of her attempt
  to rescue a badly abused little boy who doted on a stuffed animal on
  her desk .. one that said "I love you!" He said he'd never been told that
  at home. This is a constant in today's society .. two million
  unwanted, unloved, abused children in the public schools, the only
  that takes them all in.

  You want heroes?

  Visit any special education class and watch the miracle of personal
  interaction, a job so difficult that fellow teachers are awed by the
  dedication they witness. There is a sentence from an unnamed source
  which says: "We have been so eager to give our children what we didn't
  have that we have neglected to give them what we did have."

  What is it that our kids really need? What do they really want?

  Math, science, history and social studies are important, but children
  need love, confidence, encouragement, someone to talk to, someone
  to listen, standards to live by. Teachers provide upright examples,
  the faith and assurance of responsible people.

  You want heroes?

  Then go down to your local school and see our real live heroes the
  ones changing lives for the better each and every day!

  Now, pass this on to someone you know who's a teacher, or to someone
  who should thank a teacher today. I'd like to see this sent to all
  those who cut down the importance of teachers. They have no idea who a
  public school teacher is or what they do.

  J. Bradley-Asst. Principal
  Fairland High School
  Proctorville, OH

Students could write a few paragraphs while they selected that teacher
as a hero.
Maybe plan the exhibit for May (National Teacher Appreciation Day is
Tuesday, May 9, 2006). You could even use words (character words etc)
in the negative space around the portrait (Art with Text - the Word as
Art - Power of Words).


Judy Decker

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