August 12, 2010

What He Said! What She Said!

I am writing this post after reading There's A Dragon in my Art Room.
I have to link this to my blog because I love it. Inspire yourself before you go back to school.

If you are an art teacher this will also make you feel like Rocky after running up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Ken Robinson Schools Kill Creativity VIDEO LINK!

If you are a teacher, especially an art teacher;) you have the best job in the world. You get to mold minds, a job that is not to be taken lightly. Please use your words carefully, plan your lessons for students (not art shows), and let your face reflect what you want to see in your students (don't hold back a smile till December.) I worked in a tough district. I know there were some bets out on how long I'd last here but I took my chances and smiled before December.

I hope to be joining your ranks as art teacher soon. I packed up my room today after the lay off (I am still the last hire by one hour!) I met the art teacher who would be taking my place and showed her the ropes, more like showed her the kiln! My principal is sure I will be back with the legislation passed today that sends money to our schools. One more year of supplemental money and then what? Public education needs to be better, to do better, on so many levels.

Is your state in this horrible state (I'm from Connecticut)? What is the state of your teachers union?


Phyl said...

Great video, thanks!

As you know, I'm in NY state, and our state is a complete governmental/financial mess. Budget was over 4 months late, because of political idiocy. Very sad, actually pitiful, for our formerly great state of NY. Several of the candidates for the job opening in my district were excessed from other area districts, and I wonder how many of them will really be having their jobs reinstated. I'm doubtful. In the district where I live (different from where I teach) the positions of a retiring art teacher and retiring string (instrumental music) teacher were not filled. Heartbreaking. When I think of how orchestra and that string teacher changed my son's life and helped him find his career goals, it just floors me that there's money for all things sport related somehow but not for the arts.

You asked about the teachers' union. Yikes - I'm about to make this a long wordy comment - sorry! You wouldn't know this, but I spent 10 years as president of my local, through several superintendents and contract negotiations, so I'm a pretty strong unionist. NY state's teacher's union, NYSUT, affiliated with AFT, is one of the strongest/most powerful lobbying groups in the state. But even with that, this year has not been good because of the state financial mess. We've had to bargain away some benefits to hang on to others. And certification requirements are pretty stiff, and I don't know that we are turning out better teachers because of them. (I took a brief look at the applications yesterday, and on first glance I saw spelling and grammatical errors on applications that boasted of all sorts of strengths. (Pet peeve, I guess, but if I really wanted the job I'd take the time to use spell check or have somebody proofread my application!) It seems like everything in academics is test, test, test, which means less time for learning, exploration, creativity, and experimentation. Our elementary teachers barely find time to teach science at all, which I find appalling, since science deals with how our world works - what could be more important?! And many of them are simply afraid of science, because the nature of science is exploration, and they are afraid to step outside the boundaries of what they know. (Can you tell? I once thought about becoming a science teacher!) I'm very thankful the testing thing has not made its way into the elementary art room, because I don't want to 'teach to a test'. The idea of merit pay scares me, since how does someone determine the merit of an art teacher? I'm very skeptical about the whole Race to the Top and what that means for education.

OK, enough. Meanwhile, I hope your position is reinstated, or you find another even better position, where the job is secure. Keep your chin up! And I apologize for the length of this rant...

Unknown said...

Yes, I am also skeptical of all this stimulus money too, race to the top etc. It is a bandaid and then we are always in the same position or worse the following year. There are many more problems with it too.

As for SCIENCE: Many of our teachers in CT say they don't have time to teach science (but I suspect it has something to do with mess). Many of my favorite teachers seem to work science in and the kids love it.

I can't believe you were the president of the union! I have so much to learn from you. A lot of unions in CT needs to some fresh voices, faces, which is nearly impossible as new progressive teachers are not hired in many districts. To have someone progressive like you as the union prez already shows how much better your districts union is.

No tests for art. I have sat through workshops with educators who are developing this test and it is totally developmentally inappropriate. I am shocked when I see what they are planning and how they expect art to be taught!

THANKS FOR YOUR REPLY!!!! I always enjoy reading your thoughts!!! KEEP EM COMING.