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Year 2 Day 35- Some things..

by admin on October 7th, 2004

Some issues to discuss, actually many issues to discuss.

1) I wouldn’t want to be a principal. Ours is a nice guy, despite his lack of skill for the job. I don’t totally fault him for being bad at the position. The superintendent is breathing down his neck for any number of reasons. The teachers expect him to represent them as a disciplinarian, and organized boss. The students and parents need him for a variety of other reasons still. Each one of them thinks they should be the biggest priority in his decision making. It’s not an easy job.

That being said, he doesn’t do nearly enough for us teachers. There needs to be some sort of principal summer camp they can all go to, where they can practice, and learn how to do the job right. This on the job training is killing our staff morale.

2) Regarding the stinky kid manifesto. That kid actually is really smart, considering his situation. I really never knew he was so bitter towards, well, everything. The thing he didn’t mention in his rant was how many times staff members spent their own money, and time to bring him sanitary supplies, and clothes. He chose not to keep clean, and seperate himself from his peers. Reading that, I don’t think he even appreciated the gestures. It’s a shame, because if he coul make it through high school, education actually gets better. If he cleaned himself up, and stopped smelling like a foot, his intelligence level would find him some like-minded friends in college. The label one gets in high school, doesn’t define you forever unless you let it. I know I’m different now than the “label” I had in high school.

3) My VP volunteered my art classes to paint sets for some local play. That pisses me off. First off, he has no idea what type of skill level my kids have, if they could even handle the task. He doesn’t even know what kind of interest there would be on the kids part.

“Uhm Hey class, Mr. -said you have to paint sets for ‘Our Town’, get crackin.”

A fellow teacher told me that in years past, when she was “asked” to do similar projects. She ended up doing all the work, and getting no credit. I’m not doing any of the work. If there is a genuine interest from the kids, we’ll do it. If not, I won’t. I’m not about to start something I can’t finish. If I had advanced art classes, with kids who had higher skill levels, It wouldn’t be such a big deal.

4) I was reading an article the other day a friend sent me about a math teacher in Virginia who was placed on administrative leave. He gave out a math test where he used funny things like drug dealers, and drugs as variables in math equations. I got the idea it was done in jest, to make word problems humorous, and more relative, rather than, “Car X and Car Y are travelling in seperate directions…”. He got in all types of trouble, and was removed from the classroom, and placed in an office job. If I did that, I wouldn’t be so lucky as to get put in an office job. The article also mentioned that the kids were protesting his removal. Of course, teachers who are fun, and/or funny make education better. I’ve never seen or met the guy, but reading that I got the idea that his class was fun. Something to ponder; Teachers get way too much media attention when they mess up. Yes, they’re public figures, and need to be held accountable, but the scrutiny level has gotten to the level of movie stars and athletes almost. If they are going to put the things teachers do all over CNN, and the news, like athletes, then pay them like such. I’m not justifying the behaviors certain educators do, but I’m saying they get way more media attention than if a person with a normal job in an office did the same crime. They get all the negative attention for messing up without all the cash, cars, and glitz that the others do.

5) Art education needs to be required at all levels. I was working with a student yesterday, who was getting frustrated with her drawing. I was thinking of the right things to say, so she wouldn’t get frustrated and destroy her picture, or quit. I explained that early in school you do as much art as you do reading, and math, and science. Somewhere around 4th grade the level of art that takes place in classrooms drops to almost zero. The focus of education gets placed strictly on what’s on the standardized tests, and the core subjects. 7-9 years later when the students get in high school their asked to take art again. Their art skills, of course, are inferior to the skills in their other subjects, because the only time they work on art is if they’re doodling on their notebook. Then when they get into an art class, they get frustrated because their drawings look like a 3rd grader made it… I WONDER WHY? Maybe because they stopped doing art 8 years earlier.

I try to tell the kids, that learning how to draw or paint is like learning to do any skill. If’ you’ve never ridden a bike before there’s a 99% chance you’ll kill yourself, or look really bad if you try to do a back flip off a jump.

You can’t get better without practice. Some people have a smaller learning curve when it comes to art, but everyone improves with practice. Everyone. Just like writing, math, or any subject. The more you do it, the more you understand it, the easier it is. I’m pushing for art being required at EVERY level, EVERY year. If kids were required to take art every grade, they’d all be better at it when they got to high school. It’d help relieve stress and promote better study habits, because students could add more to their other subjects projects with art.

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