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[teacherartexchange] other people's requests


From: Foell, Marlyn_at_TeacherArtExchange (Marlyn_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue May 27 2008 - 05:19:14 PDT

We're HS.  We get requests all the time for students to do things.  I get so tired of it.  The most dreaded words, "Do you have any student(s) who could.....?"   And usually for free, with our materials, etc.   It took me years, but I have learned to say NO in many ways. It never ceases to amaze me how many people devalue kid work--OH it's good enough for them to have but not to pay for.
 Most appropriately in Florida now is the Jessica Lunsford Act, named after a child who was killed by a neighbor pedophile.  When someone calls from the community (often someone who has a big wall and doesn't want to pay a professional) and wants yet another free mural because "We thought the kids would have fun doing it."  which is the response when I ask what they'll pay the kids to do the mural, whatever.  Then, I cite the rules for the JLA and tell them that anyone who comes in contact with the students will have to go through the county's screening, be finger printed (at their own expense) and cleared according to FL State regs to be with kids.  And that they have to be supervised by a teacher or other school personnel and that runs from $50-$100 per hour depending on who it is.  I get a "I'll call you back after we discuss this." and never hear from them again.  And it's all the truth.  By law, I cannot have kids unsupervised somewhere like that around unknown people. 
As far as my inschool people, I help who I can (generally those who I know would reciprocate in another way when needed) but don't hesitate to say , "Sorry.  We're in the middle of _____ right now and just don't have the time or resources."  And yes, I remind ALL that we cannot use art room resources for other classes or private interests--I am AMAZED again at the people who will send a kid to borrow--in the middle of class--scissors, tape, glue, paint, etc. for a project they're doing.  Most recently, I had a school secretary who wanted my kids to do a large banner for her son's graduation party!!  Would not take no for an answer for days.  Well, we're not doing it.  She finally found someone else. 
When asked if a kid could do a portrait, drawing/painting of a dog, poster, whatever, I reply that the going rate for thus and such size is $(name a price).  I have even used the line, "Why would a talented artist work for free?"  Just because it's a student doesn't make the work less valuable.  In fact, my kids often look at professional work at shows and tell me that they think their own work is comparable and as such, valuable. 
This all may sound harsh and rude and I certainly don't mean it to.  This year, the secretary's graduation banner sent me over the edge.  It's comforting to know that it's not just happening at my school.  Like a lot of things I read on this list. 
Marlyn (6 more school days!!!!!)

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