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Re: Why Would Teachers not use Museum Educational Curriculum-long answer-

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From: KPRS (kprs_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Oct 15 2000 - 05:50:36 PDT


Quite simply, for me it's the following reasons.

1. Can't take kids out of the building, Board of Education won't pay for a sub,
even if the kids would pay for the bus, and entrance.

2. If Kids COULD leave the building, other teachers, i.e. the Physics Teacher,
wouldn't give them permission to leave their class for the day...after all IT IS
Physics!

3. The art class is only 45 minutes long, and in a very crowded space, with one
sink and no storage area. By the time you have students get their work out,
start working and clean up, the time allowed for making art is pretty limited.
If you have to follow a curriculum in a confined space with a finite amount of
time, squeezing the class in between assemblies, announcements, and field trips
etc, is a juggling act.

5. When I do get 'permission' to go out of the building (and that has been
sporatic over the last 3 years), I go to SoHo, which has a little of something
for everyone, and most importantly for me and my students, is that it is very
informal, not staid. When we go from gallery to gallery, my students are real
excited about what they see and are willing to critique openly. The work has not
been deemed 'historic' or 'important',and some of it is whimsical, some awful,
some fabulous, etc. When I take my students to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
my students are more interested in sitting on the steps than the great work
inside. They are intimidated by the overwhelming amount of art, the quietness of
the building,and they are afraid to speak about the work because essentially they
feel someone has decided it is important enough to be at the Met, and what could
they add to the dialogue.

6. I know that museums have great websites which I DO use, but I don't have any
computers in my art room for students to access them. I do give them the websites
however. (I do teach an AP Art Class, and will have the opportunity to go to 4
museums this year. However, for example, we are going to the Cloisters. We are
NOT however announcing ourselves as a field trip to the Cloisters, but entering
as individuals off the street--WHY?? Because if we do, we are not allowed in
until 12:00, and I have to LEAVE NYC by 1:00 in order to get the school bus back
by the time school gets out so that they can use it for the 'afternoon run'--an
example of non user friendly school committment)

7. As for me, the art teacher, I avail myself to museums and workshops as much
as can between, dishes, cleaning, and preparing my lessons, working on yearbook,
and having a private life. (This is probably a 'shot' but I feel that museum
people should remember what teaching is like in the trenches. Come visit us, have
a museum on wheels. Come see the clientell(sp). Come see that we are running as
fast as we can, doing the best we can to have an art experience for kids that is
within the budget, within the time constraints, within the facilities, and within
our board's restrictions)

8. Suggestions: Have Saturday/Sunday visit classes for students and their parents
(legally teachers can't bring students on the weekends), Have Saturday/Sunday
workshop classes for teachers (not at night, which is when two of the ones at a
local art museum are scheduled that I am attending this month), Have summer
courses for both teachers and students....find out when Winter Break/Spring Break
(for the local school systems) are, and schedule activities during that time.

9. Smile when we do come....my high school students all have crossed off Museum
Curator from their lists of possible careers because of the 'seriousness' of the
docents they have had experience with over the years.

you asked....

San D