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The West

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  • bill merrill
    I never saw the letter about the Western states, I have however read about the West and the fact that Wayong was not apologizing for what was written. I
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 10, 2002
      I never saw the letter about the Western states, I have however read about the "West" and the fact that Wayong was not apologizing for what was written. I really don't know what was said.
      I lived in Wyoming as a youngster, went to college and in fact my first teaching job was at the college level.  I moved to Washington State and have taught at the college level ever since.  Those of you who teach art at kindergarden through the 12th grade obviously do it fot the love of teaching and for Art.  Where I teach we now have "Running Start", where High School students take college classes as Juniors and Seniors.  I find that in todays educational climate that many colleges that have Running Start are becoming glorified High Schools.  Don't get me wrong, some of those students do well here.  Most of the time though they need to live their lives at the High School, grow up, mature before they embark on a rigorour College level program.  I will no lower the college level standards to accomodate a group og students justn because they are young. 
      Most Artists mand faculty in the Western States that I know are open, listen, are serious about what they teach and expect the students to learn.  Respect is important, coming from the teacher, students and administrations.  I guess the point is that no one needs to make any pretenses  any more.  If you don't like Mozart, don't listen to his music.  If you don't care for an area or the culture then don't live there, simply move.  There are some things that we must do sometimes even though we don't like it.  "Sometimes it not enough to do our best, but what's required of us"  to paraphrase Winston Churchhill.
      I know I am jumping into  a conversation midstream, so what I have said may or may not contribute to the conversation. 
      I have only one question....was what was said about the Southwest  ment to be racist? 
      Bill Merrill     bmerrill@...
    • Wayong@aol.com
      Actually, I wasn t talking about the region you live in (Pacific Northwest). I have colleagues who live in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver & various parts of
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 10, 2002
        Actually, I wasn't talking about the region you live in
        (Pacific Northwest). I have colleagues who live in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver & various parts of California who, with some initial effort, ended up being very successful therapists, teachers and artists. I have family up there & love visiting them.

        I was specifically talking about the Southwest - Colorado, Utah, Nevada & Arizona (and parts of New Mexico). I only know from my experience as well as other art therapists, art teachers, special ed teachers, mental health counselors/ psychotherapists, artists & puppeteers. Most of my colleagues who were tempted by the mountains moved here, gave it their best & moved away if they decided to remain in their field or
        if they were determined to stay, pursued another field. Some of my colleagues ended up doing paralegal work, administration & substance abuse counseling. I tried, & found it was not for me.

        I forget that not everyone knows more than one definition to culture (I discovered this on a Colorado list that the members weren't aware of the other definition). By culture, I don't mean race or ethnicity. I mean environment, climate of an area, recreational and cultural happenings indigeous to an area. For example: The culture of East Village is funky & eccentric compared to the culture of the Upper West Side.
        The culture of Ann Arbor is atypical compared to the rest of Michigan. Chicago's culture & environment is more eclectic compared to the surrounding area. Florida has a diverse, rich culture in some cities. etc. etc. So Bill, I was not intending to make racist comments- so you can relax. :-)

        I lived in NYC, Chicago, Detroit & Ann Arbor. I loved the diversity & fast pace of their environments. My experiences were that people accepted me for who I am, the way I look & dress & act. I received the all annoying 'where are you from'= 'what's your ethnic background?' rude comments much more so in Colorado than anywhere else.
        But even more so, I had to explain art therapy & alternative therapy techniques on every interview I went on, explain art and creative (special ed) techniques to HR staff at school districts, and I have to say, most of the interviewers just didn't get it. They didn't understand how art therapy could be affective, how the arts are crucial for a well rounded education and how special needs populations learn more by hands on activities that focus on visual and kinesthetic techniques. Again, that goes back to the lack of awareness of the arts & the importance of the arts in this area.

        I have sent resumes to places, 7, 8, 9 times, would call from time to time to check the status. Nothing. I would have 2 hour interviews & I would call the employer 1,2 times and they never returned my phone calls. The HR at the school district was downright rude & unprofessional. And if you are wondering if it's just me, I've asked other therapists, teachers and artists and they report similiar stories.

        Beyond the East Coast & West Coast, my colleagues reported that they had more success in Chicago, Florida and Ohio. I don't know what the economic situation is in these areas, just that my colleagues have had success getting jobs & the attitude towards the arts is positive.

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