Ok, all you now-teachers, how does this sound ---
I had my first REAL interview yesterday. So now I'm suddenly not just
thinking about high school, but also about middleschool.
I was interviewed by three principals. They feel the seventh grade is a
crucial point in emotional development, that kids need to know that their
own individuality is respected and needed, and their ideas are valued, and
they need to learn to be confident in who they are and how important they
are to the community. They've decided ART is an important part of
accomplishing those things. So, all 7th graders are required to take art,
after that it's an elective. They then have the choice of art, band, or
agriculture. I had really taken a chance and said that art production wasn't
as important to me in the end as whether or not a student learned to think
visually and generate ideas, and be able to communicate those ideas visually
AND verbally, and that hand skills and materials skills were important, but
just cranking out "stuff" wasn't the point to me at all. So I was pretty
relieved when they told me their philosophy.
They've only had art one year (she's moving with her husband). There is a
sink and oven and fridge and microwave and lots of cabinets, and a new
computer, on-line, one of several in the building. The school district is
167 or so square miles. the parents expect to spend about $40 on art
supplies. We talked about adding art supplies to the student council's
"store". I asked about parental participation, and they laughed. They said,
"this school is the center of this town's life - everything revolves around
it- we often have bigger crowds at away games than the home teams". There
are no athletics during school - all after school. Preschool to 12th grade
are all right there together in three adjoining buildings. Kids who live in
town can stable their livestock right there on campus, and we're welcome to
draw them (I asked). One of the principals is also raising a couple of
heifers there herself! The townspeople expect there to be a steady stream of
student art at the city hall for them to see when they go pay their bills -
and at the library. If there isn't, they complain. Oh - they also said all
the teachers get along and work cooperatively on lots of things.
The challenge would be - if somebody really wanted to take art, they'd have
ME for six years!
I think it sounds wonderful. I'm hoping it won't completely break my heart
if they don't want me.