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[teacherartexchange] Art as a dumping ground - need advice


Date: Fri Nov 17 2006 - 07:27:44 PST

I teach MS art, and I'm the only art teacher at my campus. (Other MS's in
my district that are the same size have 2 or 3 art teachers - I'm not
exactly sure why there's not more here) This is the 2nd year I've been at
this school, and in those 2 years I've felt very much like my class is
viewed as a dumping ground for students who other teachers don't want. I
know full well that art is often a place where students who aren't
successful in other classes can shine, and I love that. (I often get into
conversations with other teachers about individual students, and am
surprised to find out that one of my better kiddos is a troublemaker in
another subject)

To give you an example of what I mean, I've got a student who refuses to
do even the most basic work, and often spends her time picking on other
students/destroying art supplies/making messes/throwing things. I've
called home, given several detentions, written several referrals, etc.
Nothing changes her behavior. I spoke to the counselor and AP about
changing her schedule because she is a horrible distraction in my class,
and just can't handle herself in my room (and because she never wanted art
as an elective in the first place). The counselor and grade level AP
responded by saying that they couldn't move her because then she'd be a
distraction in another class - as if it's taboo to give problem students
to the other if the other electives have the option to
reject problem students. Since she's "not a team player" they won't put
her in athletics, band, drama, orchestra or choir because they don't want
to damage those programs.

It's my opinion that loading my classes with students like this is
damaging my program! What sane, well behaved kid wants to be in classes
with multiple kids like the one I described??? I understand that kids
like this are a given...that there will always be a few...but why can't
the burden be SHARED??? Why do the other electives get to reject such
kids and I'm stuck with them in my classes - ruining everyone's day?

This is just one aspect of things that the admin and counselors do that I
think hurt my program. Any advice on what I can do?

Heather Hayes
Visual Art
Ridgeview Middle School

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