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Re: [teacherartexchange] expectations of an art teacher

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From: Diane C. Gregory (dianegregory_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 20:14:15 PDT


Michal,

In your post you say "I love my job, don't mind the multiple levels, and I DO
NOT understand why the only ones complaining are the ones who don't teach in
this situation."

Just a friendly reminder...this whole line of discussion started because of a
post from a beginning teacher who had been given multiple classes and very
large class sizes, sometimes over 30 students with multiple levels. She was
complaining about what she thought was an excessive
workload. So you see what you say above is not quite how I saw this whole
discussion...I was quite amazed that many from the list did not provide her
much guidance about how she could address the situation. In fact, many said it
was too risky to do anything about it...They feared she would lose her job if
she would say anything about it. I am still amazed that we did not give her the
support and compassion she needed. Many beginning art teachers walk away from
jobs like this and turn their backs on art education because of working
conditions like this. What a waste. I certainly would not advocate
unprofessional or over the top reaction to her school's practices or risk
losing her job. However, I think we could have provided her guidance about how
to deal with the situation and offered her some hope that things would/could get
better. Instead it seemed that people said that this is just the way it
is...Some people do not want multiple classes, Michal, and if she felt she was
being overwhelmed we could have offered her some assistance. It is fine that
you enjoy multiple classes, but as I recall you said that your class size was
very reasonable. Nevertheless, we need to respect her point of view, just as
you are asking us to respect your point of view. Perhaps everyone has been
taking this discussion way too personally. I am certainly not questionning
your professionalism. I think we simply disagree. :-) I hope there is room
for honest disagreement on the list.

My own job at the university level is overwhelming. I teach 13 distinct courses
over a two year period. I am the only art education faculty member. I have
over 55 undergraduate and graduate advisees. Approximately 25 of these
students are graduate students who will eventually begin work on their thesis.
I do not know how I will manage the workload. I continually work to inform
others of the situation and hope that at some point I will get some relief.
Recently I did get some help with supervising student teachers. We generally
have about 4 or 5 student teachers a semester and have to drive almost 100
miles round trip in the Denton, Ft. Worth, Dallas metroplex. I generally spend
60 to 70 hours a week working. I enjoy my job, but this workload is
overwhelming. So I am concerned about overwhelming work loads at both the K-12
and university levels and I do experience it first hand. Unless we speak up,
this kind of thing will continue and good people will leave the profession. I
do not believe that most people will be able to tolerate such overwhelming work
loads for long. It takes a tole on one's health and personal life.

Sincerely,

Diane

--
Dr. Diane C. Gregory
Director, Undergraduate & Graduate
Studies in Art Education
Texas Woman's University
Denton, TX  76204
dgregory@mail.twu.edu
940-898-2540
Quoting "M. Austin" <whest177@wheatstate.com>:
> So who doesn't get art? I guarantee that if my district cannot afford to
> hire another math teacher and has that teacher teach multiple courses then I
> guarantee they won't hire a second art teacher just for the two dozen or so
> kids that are affected. I actually had to fight to get students the ability
> to take my course more than once, because the counselor thought that they
> would simply be repeating the same things. Music and band are NEVER
> questioned, and they repeat students for 4 years, without altering their
> curriculum any. I love my job, don't mind the multiple levels, and I DO NOT
> understand why the only ones complaining are the ones who don't teach in
> this situation. Teaching multiple levels is a lot less stressful and a lot
> less work than moving from 2 towns, 3 buildings, 4 classrooms daily, and yet
> nobody on this list has questioned this insane schedule (although I'm sure
> that they will now). Others teach in equally similiar situations. I am
> tenured and I do choose to fight for my program - and that program includes
> any student who truely wants to take art. That is my .02 and I refuse to
> allow anyone to treat me as less of a professional, or to think I am acting
> as a floormat because I accept and encourage what I do.
> ~Michal
> K-12 Kansas Art Teacher
> http://www.geocities.com/theartkids
>
>
> > Frankly guys, I think we are WAY TOO PATIENT with this nonsense.   Our
> > expectations are at times way too low.  Simply refuse to teach doubled up
> > courses and see what kind of trouble you can cause that might highlight
> > issues and solve some problems with perceptions in your school.  Make sure
> > you have tenure before  you take on the administration, but FIGHT!  It is
> > for the good of your students and your school.   Or go to your state board
> > of education about this abuse.  I don't think doubled up courses is kosher
> > legally with state standards.
>
>
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