..."always wished there was no grading for art, and we let students express themselves" said as a follow-up to art as a "stress buster"
well...if I use golf by way of metaphor...it is when my mind is absorbed in the mechanics of play, the strategy I must lay out that I discover in hindsight, play behind me...that I did not think of work, bills due, stresses waiting for me, and it can be said that golf for the three hours played was indeed a service to my mind, spirit and well-being.
There are different kinds of minds and personalities, and some are absolutely perfectly happy to have no demands placed upon them. They will very likely see art as a thing that is supposed to be "fun"...and have ideas of what makes something fun. Such especially appeals to those that typically cause class management issues, because fun for them means no rules, taking advantage of a weak teacher, causing a raucous.
There are however personalities that want to be more engaged, challenged...and tend to see a thing that does not do so as a waste of their time.
Your comment about losing jobs is true...and in a recession time where what is not necessary is being constantly sought out, the budget trimmed...to see art as simply a service to supply "play" is likely to be that which a hurting community will see as something not to be missed if cut.
I teach my students that time in the art room is indeed about "play"...but I let them know it is not the kind of mindless play and fun they associate with the word. It is a "serious" play. There is a time to be carefree and mindless certainly...but we should be careful we do not put art in the same category of things to do like popping in a video game. After all, that releases stress of the real world too!
I like what Vincent Van Gogh often wrote, comparing art often to a window. Seeing the outside world, but also allowing light to illuminate the artist...and this deep insightful summation he wrote in letter R43
"Art is something which, although produced by human hands, is not created by these hands alone, but something which wells up from a deeper source in our souls."
I'm reading Cliff Edward's book currently, "The Shoes of Van Gogh" and starting with chapter one, Edward says... "A window allows us to see a world beyond our limited space. It is a miracle that allows us to see through a wall. Imagine walking along a wall that blocks your field of vision and then coming upon a window through which you see meadow and mountains. But there is more. A window is a double miracle. It not only allows us to see out; it also invites light in to illuminate our interior space. A window makes visible the world without and the world within."
Later he says..."in the creative work of art we encounter reality in a dimension which is closed to us without such works."
Such creativity requires contientious endeavor, play...but serious play, and without such one will not learn to anticipate that other dimension. Mindless fun...remains just that, mindless...but we are called to educate, not just facilitate that which amounts to a service of stress relief.
I believe people need serious relief, yes...but if it is superficial, it will be cast aside as quickly as another other over the counter temporary relief. Along with relief, they need substance. That cements the deal...and makes it legit and real for a lifetime. My opinion...
Kids don't require a teacher to find fun and stress relief...they gravitate to it naturally. Just ask most substitute teachers! They need to learn how to harness it...process, reflect, synthesize, and grow from it.