What is mean spirited is school counselors and administrators who don't care.
It is totally unreasonable to put up with these working conditions. I have
also seen school boards who say that you should even be glad you have an art
As long as we continue to put up with these kinds of attitudes we have no one to
blame but ourselves.
I have listened to all the problems that people are having on this list: no
supplies, no equipment, overcrowding, no respect...one can not teach art and
teach it effectively when there are too many children in the class...this is
the bottom line...and teachers are left to fend for themselves.
I'm sorry but this is inexcusable. Woody, bless your heart, it is great to have
this idealistic notion that we can fight for the kids and that you can believe
that someone will eventually listen. The bottom line is that this teacher has
too many students and can't handle all of these students. The class size must
be reduced and done so immediately. We can not teach art effectively in this
type of environment--it does a disservice to everyone. By taking a position of
no tolerance, we are fighting for our kids.
Did you know that the number one reason people leave the teaching profession?
It is working conditions like this and a lack of anyone being able to change it.
So many teachers, including art teachers, leave the profession in an average of
3 to 5 years. Think of the time, money and effort a teacher goes through to
get educated to teach. What a waste...So this is important...It is important
to take immediate action not only for your class, but also for your own
professional future. Waiting until the school board can act is a long term
solution and doubtful at best.
My advice is to work through the school counselors to reduce class sizes and
failing that I would have students reassigned in whatever way you can. I am not
talking about getting rid of special education students. I agree with you
Woody, many special education students do very well in art classes and are a
joy to teach. Many "at risk" students are students who have drug problems,
alcohol problems, behavior problems. These students are usually very
bright...I am talking about having students reassigned who don't take the class
seriously and fail to be able to pass a test for which they are capable of
passing if they only would study and apply themselves. Some counselors put
students in art classes because they know the student has a history of not
working or applying themselves. They think it is an easy class. Students
think so too. It sounds harsh. It does sound mean. We have to fight and fight
hard to have reasonable working conditions. It goes against the grain of most
art teachers...However, we can not save the world unless we have a reasonable
environment in which to work.
Dr. Diane C. Gregory
Director, Undergraduate & Graduate
Studies in Art Education
Texas Woman's University
Denton, TX 76204
Quoting Woody Duncan <email@example.com>:
> Diane C. Gregory wrote:
> > Have you had a heart to heart conversation with the guidance folks? Are
> > possibly getting a lot of "at risk" students? If you get no cooperation
> > administration or the counseling folks, and you are having trouble managing
> > class, one tactic that might work is to give a hard test so that some
> > will go to the counselor and change the class themselves.
> There must be other solutions rather than giving students work they
> can't handle. Isn't this what we complain that NCLB is doing ? NCLB
> requires special ed students who read well below grade level to be
> tested at grade/age level. This is mean spirited and counter productive.
> We need to take the students where they are and help them improve
> and grow. I taught in a Middle School where a major portion of the
> students were "at risk". They were great kids and really wanted to
> learn. Please don't kick them out. Go to the school board with your
> concerns. They usually see the stats that are presented to them and
> assume that a class size average of 23.5 mean that the numbers you
> really have. That photos and rosters to the school board meeting.
> Take parents with you. Things will change. Local school officials
> will treat you differently when they know you stand up for the kids.
> Woody, Retired in Albuquerque
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