>Dear Art teachers,
Now that my status has changed from art teacher to substitute
>teacher, I find the situation of teaching art more challenging than ever.
>Could you give me some feedback on what you can realisitically expect of
>someone coming into your art room for one day? Some teachers ask me if I'd
>like to do my own thing. I'd like to, but the kids don't usually have the
>necesary trust built up in me to take on something new. Besides the result
>of this can be frustrating and downright humiliating? Anyone care to
>comment on this or other situations with replacement teachers? Thanks. PAW
I would like to respond as one who has worked for short periods of
time as a substitute art teacher in order to stay in touch with children
and to try out art teaching ideas.
I first explain to the children what they are going to learn and/or
practice today - not what they are going to make today. I think children
trust me more when I take the time to explain why we are doing what we are
doing and how it will help them learn to draw better, sculpt better, paint
better, and to notice things better. I like for them to get nice products,
but I am much more concerned about what they learn, the thinking they do,
and the practice they get.
Often the lesson starts with some preliminary hands-on warm up
activities to be sure they all know how to use the materials and understand
how they work. This can be quite structured because I am more interested
in know that they have some mastery of the tools and techniques than that
they are creative during the first part of the lesson. No product is
produced during the first part of the lesson but they are all doing hands
on practice and preparation. If they are using familiar materiels, I would
have them warm up with an activity that involves something conceptual,
compositional, or topical relating to the creative assignment, or some
After they finish their own work (the product), if there is time,
we discuss them and/or make some connections with everyday life topics.
When we work in clay, pieces are not fired and the clay is reused, so there
is no cost. I explain that artists often make practice pieces and it is
like studying music. Practice helps us learn. Work time is stopped early
enough to teach a few minutes of art history with examplars selected on the
basis of the kind of work they have produced.
I hope this encourages substitute teachers to take heart and bring
their teaching talents with them for the sake of the children. I am
saddened because so many substitutes are not really prepared to teach art,
so nothing much happens. If a substitute is an art teacher, it would be
even sadder not to teach art IMHO.
>Marvin Bartel, Ed. D., Chair, Art Dept
>Goshen College, Goshen, IN 46526
>phone 219-533-0171 Studio
>phone 219-535-7592 College
>http://www.goshen.edu (for Goshen College homepage)
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