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[teacherartexchange] More on the Art Teacher from Texas

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From: Jean Womack (jeaneger_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Sep 30 2006 - 11:57:15 PDT


It looked like a cat fight to me. A new administrator determined to make an
experienced teacher knuckle under. A new administrator who thought she had
unlimited power, just like a new teacher who walks into a classroom and
thinks she is going to tell the kids where to sit and what to do without any
classroom management techniques.

Or perhaps it was some very conservative parents wanting to put their own
art teacher into that job. Around here, everyone gets into the act. A
teaching credential in art means nothing to them. The parents want to say
who is teaching their child and they will stop at nothing to get a teacher
they don't like out of the job, drugging her coffee, accusing her of things
she didn't do, etc. A nude statue is the least of it. Just walking into an
AA meeting is enough to cast suspicion on a teacher. I know one guy from
an AA group, who touted himself to be a Vietnam veteran, said he didn't like
a little black girl who was in the class with his child and he was going to
work to get her kicked out of that parochial school. Nothing and no one was
good enough for him. I remember the overwhelming silence when he started
talking about that stuff. I guess that he thought he was going to get some
recruits in that meeting. Remember that the next time you go on a peace
march. That's Catholic school, so that doesn't affect me. That guy lost
his own wife and children, who left him and moved in with someone else.
They couldn't stand him either. He had an affair with his psychologist and
then sued her for abuse of power. That guy is now a social worker, if you
can believe it. I think he works with other Vietnam Veterans. I met some
of them in Martinez. They think that women are bad.

Most parents want their children to be taught by an experienced teacher--she
taught for 28 years? Wow, they are lucky to get an art teacher like that.
There must be a hidden agenda somewhere.

Yeah, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco pushes the edge sometimes.
I was told by my San Francisco School District master teacher, "Don't go on
any field trips." It's just a matter of survival of the teacher, I guess.
But I would defend any teacher who took her class there after previewing the
exhibitions and getting permission from the parents.

I think that following WWII and the blanket of conservatism that was the
Cold War of the 1950's, the museums (and National Geographic Magazine) were
the last bastion of defending the ability of the public to view the human
body without clothing on, just so they could show their children what a
naked person looked like. There is something wrong with you if you
visualize private parts as a blur. You ought to know what they look like
and what their names are. They teach this in health class, not in art
class, although art teachers are qualified to teach the health course if
they got a clear credential, because they took that course. I have the
health textbook sitting on my shelf. You know, we teach from the textbook,
we don't make stuff up to teach the kids. We'd be tearing pages out of art
history books if the kids were not allowed to see nudes.

I think this is especialy important for doctors, to be able to draw nudes.
Children who want to become doctors should be allowed to find out about the
parts of the human body. I think during the middle ages, doctors were not
allowed to treat people who were naked or even dissect cadavars that weren't
all covered up, something like that. Please correct me if I am wrong about
this.

Of course the kids have the giggle response to seeing a nude in a textbook.
That's because they are kids. You know, schools are in the business of
giving children information, not preventing them from finding out anything
about the world. You want to keep your children from finding out anything
about the world? Just go to a country where they don't go to school, don't
have any books and don't learn to read or write.

Jean Womack
California

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