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Re: inner city school problem

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From: Jayna Ledbetter (jayna_99_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Oct 26 2000 - 14:56:25 PDT


WOW! It sounds to me like you need to go over your
principal's head- if you have addressed all of these
problems with him or her already. It is not fair for
these students to run off another teacher, especially
since it is your first year. Your situation sounds
familiar. This is my first year teaching, and I had 30
or so in most classes (middle school) and 39 seventh
graders in one class. The other related arts teachers
were struggling also, and I think that since there
were five of us complaining about it and threatening
to quit- we finally got something done. Our counselors
got together and pulled students out. They are now in
an "exploratory" course with a retired teacher who was
nice enough to take them on until we get a new related
arts class. We are hoping for a foreign language
teacher.
But that is what it took- making the classes
smaller. I had eighth grade classes that I thought
would drive me insane- but I actually look forward to
seeing them now because there are 11 fewer in the
class and I can get to know them! As for an immediate
solution, I would lock up all of the supplies in your
office. They don't deserve them if they are stealing
them and destroying them. There are a million drawing
lesson ideas, and a million more art history and
criticism things you could do. I know you are
concerned about the students who need the materials to
express their talents, but I am sure they would be
willing to draw also. So, I would let them have
pencils only- and you can provide these if they won't
bring their own to class. But- give them the crummiest
broken ones you find on the floor or out in the
hallway until they start borrowing from someone else
or bringing their own. Give them zeros for not doing
classwork. Offer them the choice of researching an
artist and writing a report if they don't want to
draw. Forget the classical music- you probably deal
with more of them making fun of it than anything else-
at least I did. If taking away materials does improve
the situation, gradually bring them back by giving
assignments that require step by step instructions
using one medium at a time. I am still dealing with
seventh graders- there are 28 of them as opposed to 39
now- but there are still too many to watch closely.
Walk around that room (mine is huge too)- don't stay
in one place for too long. Have consequences and stand
behind them. Be consistent! Hope this helps.
Jayna

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