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Re: [teacherartexchange] teaching multiple classes


From: M. Austin (whest177_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Sep 19 2005 - 19:41:25 PDT

I think there are some misconceptions about mixed level classes - at least
in my case. I have 9 students in one class, 21 in the other. I do not have
any Art 4 students this year due to my art classes being opposite Government
and English 4. I do not feel that my teaching multiple levels has anything
to do with respect - I am on the district leadership team, I am the building
NCA leader, I am the NEA secretary, and I am one of two district technology
coordinators. I have seniority over 75% of the district staff and have been
there longer than all the administrators and board members. My program is
well-funded in comparison to other curriculum in the district. We do not
have a foreign language teacher in the building due to not needing one for
more than 2 hours a day, so we have foreign language in our IDL lab. While
English classes do not teach multiple levels during any given class, this is
due to the fact that our state funding is dependant on our reading and now
our math scores. The math department does teach multiple levels in our
district due to the fact that we do have to focus on our math scores, and
some students need classes that we cannot offer any other time, so they are
put in with the math teacher who does his best to teach them. So, outside
influences do not factor in to my allowing and promoting multi-level
classes. One of our grade schools was multi-level the first 3 years I taught
here - grades 1-3 and 4-6, so this is common practice all around. In Kansas,
students are required to take a fine arts credit to graduate high school,
which is covered by visual art, vocal music, or band in my district. I think
it is easy to judge if you have never lived or worked in a small, rural
setting such as the one I'm in. I teach in a climate where I am respected,
valued, and appreciated, both vocally as well as thru actions and pay. When
I need something I ask and I generally receive it.
K-12 Kansas Art Teacher

> I would certainly not turn students away...but I do think there is some
> room to
> let it be known that teaching multiple classes with too many students is
> sometimes not the best educational experience. There is also room to let
> the
> district understand that art needs to be a required class. Some states do
> require arts courses for high school graduation and I see it as both a
> working
> conditions issue as well as an advocacy issue. Art needs and should be on
> equal footing with other classes. Are English teachers and math teachers
> required to teach multiple courses at once? ..... Forming strong, helping
> relationships with others over time can help any art teacher to advocate
> for
> reasonable working conditions so that students can get the best art
> education.
> Accepting multiple classes without saying anything about it can be
> mistaken as
> approval and doing so can set a precedent that will eventually be
> impossible to
> change since...this is the way it is always done...and making the art
> teacher
> feel like they are somehow being disloyal or uncaring about the needs of
> their
> students if they dare say anything. Nothing could be further from the
> truth...It is out of care and wanting to improve conditions that we
> advocate so
> strongly.

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