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Your Vital Role


From: Broadwater, Katherine (KBroadwater_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Oct 06 2003 - 19:22:38 PDT

Several folks from Artsednet have e-mailed me privately and asked if I would share my September column from SchoolArts magazine because it was helpful to them. I aked the editor, Eldon Katter, for permission since it was written for SchoolArts. My column is one of three that appear each month under Helpful Hints. Visit for more information about School Arts. Permission was granted and here is the column before it was edited :

Every once in a while, even the best art teachers can become discouraged. At times we tend to dwell on the negatives: low administrative support for the arts, budget cuts, behavior problems, a lack of supplies and equipment, exhausting schedules and generally low morale.

            At times like this keep in mind the vital role that quality art teachers play in the life of a school and in the life of a child. Do you know how important you are as a teacher of art? Your art class may be a student's only sanctuary from the prescriptive teaching of workbooks and lecture. You provide a safe place where young people can feel free to express their fears, hopes and dreams. What you do as a caring teacher of art transcends curriculum, long-range planning, materials and budgets. Your passion and commitment give children an opportunity to share their hearts, make meaningful art, and develop problem solving, creative thinking and reflection skills.

            Just think of the first grade child with the beaming smile rushing toward you to share her not-quite-dry-yet painting. Or the eighth grader who at the close of the school year throws away everything in his locker but keeps his linoleum block print to take home. Or the student who invites her dad to the annual art show to show him her photographs that are displayed under lights. Not only do you enrich lives …you change them. When taught with integrity the arts break down barriers, bring about an understanding of history and diverse cultures, and promote respect and understanding so desperately needed in today’s world. Art teacher’s can offer these connections because we are in the business of solving problems and providing possibilities. In down times, take heart fellow art teachers, be encouraged, what you are doing day in and day out makes a significant impact on young lives.