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Re: [teacherartexchange] art as a dumping ground - problem re-explained

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From: M. Austin (whest177_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Nov 18 2006 - 08:00:45 PST


I have had administrators in the past who did not back up my discipline
plans, which makes it very difficult to effectively manage a classroom. I
had one kid tell me to "F" off one year. I sent him to the principal who
sent the kid back with orders to apologize. Luckily he was fired after that
year, but the point is, when the administration doesn't effectively do their
job it makes it almost impossible to do yours. What I did was to "trick"
them into wanting to do art. Some troublemakers are grade driven - as long
as they aren't failing they won't work, but they will work their tails off
to have a D-. Make sure you are grading consistently and not rewarding
students just for turning anything in. Some kids don't care what their
grades are, so here is where you need to pull out the cool projects. Plaster
masks, panty hose sculptures, altered books, ceramics - these all seem to
inspire those more troublesome kids. Have alternative lessons available for
those who can't handle the cool stuff - and make them dreadful. I have an
OLD ceramics workbook that is deadly dull. I pull it out at the beginning of
clay lessons and tell them if they throw clay, don't clean up properly, or
abuse the materials then I will make copies for those students who aren't
mature enough to behave properly. I have never had to actually use the book,
but they know it is there.

I have two high school art classes with 64 students total. Between lack of
other enrollment opportunities, a couple of unique circumstances that will
hopefully not reoccur next year, and the state mandating that students must
have a fine arts credit to graduate (and if you don't sing or play an
instrument you go to art), I have several students this year who don't
really want to be in art. So I work to make the subject matter enticing.
Good luck - it sure makes for a long year when you don't start with
motivated learners!
~Michal
K-12 Kansas Art Teacher
http://www.geocities.com/theartkids

> So, not only are they knowingly filling my classes with behavior problems,
> but if I complain too much about it or send too many of them to the
> office...I'm the one who will get blamed.

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