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I too am currently working as an artist-in-residence but I also have art
education credentials. I had general education classes in classroom
managment but these classes really didn't prepare me for what actually goes
on in the art classroom. After teaching in a variety of situations for
almost 20 years (most of which has been in my own classroom), I am having a
few problems in this my newest teaching situation. Teaching in your own
regular classroom is easy for classroom management as you set the rules,
layout and classroom protocol. When you walk into someone else's room all
that goes out the window and I have found that I have little real control.
Each week when I visit a room, the kids are seated in new places and often
the entire room has been rearranged. Trying to get classroom teachers to
support and help with your particular form of management and organization
Try to be familiar with school rules and policies about behavior so you are
comfortable enforcing exisiting rules and know your perameters. The only
advice I can give is to learn to let go of some of the control or you'll go
nuts. Try to have fun and work with the kids enthusiasm. When I have kids
that are totally inappropriate or too out of control, I just have them
clean up and go sit outside the room at a small desk. I've asked the
teachers to provide reading or worksheets in another subject for this time.
I will not punish with art reading or research (as we've discussed on this
list because it turns the kids off to art). I feel if they can't behave in
art, they won't have it at all.
With the figure drawing, I try to set it up before hand by explaining how
nude figure drawing is a big part of classical art training and why the
figure is important in learning to draw. I descibe the figure drawing
classes I've had and try to portray a tone of serious observation and
study. There will always be a bit of discomfort for many students when
they begin this activity, especially adolescents and young teens. Try to
encourage the students by expressing your confidence in their maturity and
ability to handle this "adult" activity. Stress that different body types
are admired and necessary for models--no one is the same. I try not to get
angry at giggles and such at first but if the behavior continues or gets
demeaning to the model, I send the kid out of the room. If you set it up
this way, the kids who act obnoxious are usually looked down on by their
peers as being less mature than they are.
Good luck, its a jungle out there!
Always take time to stop and smell the roses... and sooner or later,
you'll inhale a bee.