Wow. This is some of the best advice I have ever read on the board. That
is exactly what I have been doing during my career. Nobody in my building
minimalizes my role in the school because I have done all of this stuff.
The advice about getting to know and be in the good graces of the
secretaries is vital. You would not believe the amount of influence that
they have over administrators and counselors. You have to get yourself to
think long-term. Truly plan and build a program and I think you will see a
new attitude on everyone.
From: KPRS2 [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2006 2:32 PM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: RE: [teacherartexchange] art as a dumping ground - problem
Melissa gives some great advice to keep your art program in the forefront of
the school, and thus pushing the idea that your art program is important and
not just a 'throw away'.
I would like to add a few more suggestions. First of all, if there are ANY
commmittees in your school and/or district, run, don't walk to volunteer to
be on them. Let the rest of the school see how serious an educator you are.
You need educational allies in your fight to 'legitimize' your art program.
Your situation is not unusual. I work very closely with the guidance
department. When they do "dump" a student I make sure to let them know that
this is a favor, and I call my favors in quite frequently. I am close with
the secretarial staff in the guidance department as well. Work the system.
They obviously know how to work you. Over the years, this give and take PLUS
my reputation, has made the 'dumping' less and less. I also believe that
every student deserves a safe place to be, regardless of their attitude, so
sometimes, after the process of elimination for a variety of reasons, I am
it. I work hard to try to reach the student BUT over the years know that not
every key (me for example) fits every lock (student for example) and I don't
take it personally. That said, I work the rest of the class, and they in
turn help me work with the disruptive student. Peer pressure DOES work. If
the disruptive student doesn't have an audience, sometimes they give up. But
many eyes (mine and the other students) will help as well.
Teaching art is like the plate spinner at the circus. We have to try to keep
all plates spinning, while juggling, tap dancing and singing all at the same
time. Occasionally a plate will fall and break. Don't beat yourself up over