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[teacherartexchange] professional development


From: Jean Womack (jeaneger_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Oct 30 2006 - 10:59:41 PST

Regarding the CAEA conference, when a person who claims to be a teacher
takes the podium and says that textbooks are not curriculum and then does
not explain what her idea of curriculum is, I wonder why did she bother to
make that remark? Who put her up to it? Was it the person who got up and
walked across the room to greet her on her way back to her table? When I sit
and listen to a teacher, I expect him or her to teach me something new; to
explain something; or to reinforce or challenge some learning that I already
have. Granted, that when I studied curriculum at San Francisco State with
Julia Marshall, we found out that we were supposed to create a unit with a
theme, which could be either an art element/principle OR an idea theme, like
figurative, or abstract, or landscape. Within that, we were to create
lesson plans according to the prescribed format, including this,that,and the
other thing, along with how long it was going to take, so as to cover the
art elements and principles and all the other stuff the standards ask us to
do. That course, to me, was a great discovery, a lightbulb going on in a
dark room.

But don't you think a textbook would have helped me save some time writing
that curriculum, time that I could devote to explaining the lesson to the
kids and giving them individual attention, grading their notes, and other
work, and so on?

I can't possibly know how long a lesson plan is going to take if I never
taught it before. To estimate time, I do the project myself and then double
the time it took me to do it. That's my estimate. So when I started to
work, I did write three curricula. It helped to make a long list of
projects that I could teach and ask the students to rank what they wanted to
do the most. Shading came out on top. Of course I was working night and
day to do that. And the administration did not even give me textbooks to
help teach those courses, which was cheating their students out of the
learning experience they deserved. And those other teachers in that school
STILL were not satisfied. It turned out that there was a guy they liked
whom they wanted back in that job, so my days there were numbered, from the
day I set foot in the door of that school. So they gradually escalated the
harassment until I asked to be put back to substitute teaching. So the only
reason the district put me into that job was to dump me out of teaching.
And they said it when they hired me. They said that I was going to work at
a school which traditionally had had a substitute teacher starting the
school year there.

I have no personal gripe with the teacher who replaced me. It was just
another in a long list of injustices that were done to me over the years.
If it's a gang that is trying to run you out of a job, you might as well
give up and go. I say that because there was a teaching assistant who
threatened me, saying that he could have a gun to my head, as he walked out
of class one day. And that's illegal to threaten a teacher, so I think that
was a gang at that school. That's the definition of a gang--a group that is
involved in illegal activity.

I am somewhat sympathetic to the textbook people because I was a small
newspaper publisher and was told to stop writing by San Francisco teachers,
who wanted to allow violence to continue in their schools but not to have a
record of it. Or perhaps they just wanted me to get into trouble for
failing to report it. However, one experienced counselor told me to write
it down on a piece of lined paper, not on an official form, and just put
F.Y.I. (for your information) on it. So I tend to get suspicious of people
who tell me not to write, since I went through the credential program and
was told to write: that I was supposed to write my success and concerns. In
the science field, they say it even more strongly. They say publish or
perish. So I have to wonder if those teachers who tell me not to write, are
really teachers or did they get into the schools some other way? Because I
think that everyone who goes to graduate school is told to write.

I guess if you wanted vocabulary to help your kids pass College Board tests,
you would more likely get it from an art history course. How about flying
buttresses as a key word? I think "Flying buttresses" is more age
appropriate than "plastered." How about traveling through Europe with a
little kid in tow, going to youth hostels and seeing famous cathedrals and
museums everywhere you went? And then going bankrupt when you got back.
Hey, when they got em down in the ghetto, they want those puppies to STAY
down. They want em to stay there, don't go anywhere, don't get any medical
help for your bulimia anywhere else, because the doctors are better in
Europe than the ones we have here who only think about how much they don't
like drunks, instead of what they DO like.

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