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need help and advice please-new teacher!

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  • jeljohns25
    I started my first teaching job at an art museum teaching 6-8 yr old mixed media. We are three weeks in and every class has been a disaster. I posted
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 3, 2005
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      I started my first teaching job at an art museum teaching 6-8 yr old
      mixed media. We are three weeks in and every class has been a
      disaster. I posted previously about the fact that the class is 90
      minutes long and these kids go through anything I give them at warp
      speed, or 3 minutes in to the project they start complaining that
      they are bored and start asking if we are done yet and what is next.
      I have one boy who gets up out of his seat constantly and wanders
      around the room and NEVER finishes a project. This past week his
      mother came and sat in on the class (he kept getting out of his seat
      to talk to her and she ended up doing most of his project for him!).
      After class she came up to me and started yelling that her son was
      very upset that he didn't get to finish his project last week and
      didn't want to come this week because he was so upset. I explained
      to her that no, he usually does not finish a project, but I always
      keep them so he has the option of working on it the next week but he
      never wants to. She just kept ranting and then stated that I should
      let him do whatever he wants. This boy also never wants to do
      anything, he'll sit in front of a blank piece of paper for an hour
      and when I ask him to start on the project he just says "no, I don't
      want to" but I guess he is going home upset because he is not
      finishing. None of my kids seem motivated or inspired. Last year
      torn paper portraits were taught with great success according to the
      past teacher, so I thought I would try it with this group at the last
      class. My goal was to teach them facial proportions and shading.
      They just didn't get the concept of different colors in the face and
      instead of tearing the paper in to small pieces as instructed, they
      just glued large chunks on to their papers so they could get finished
      sooner. I am at my wits end and am not sure what to do. I don't
      want to quit, but I just feel like this class is not a benefit to the
      students and it makes me feel like a horrible teacher. Since I am a
      new teacher I am not sure how to deal with parents and their
      complaints and concerns either. I finish my teaching degree in a few
      months and now I'm not even sure if this is what I am supposed to be
      doing with my life. I would really love some advice from seasoned
      teachers. Feel free to contact me off post.

      Thank you so much in advance!!!
      -Jeni
    • ebay@billieellisonterry.com
      I wanted to intruduce myself. I m Kristi, and my son is Sage, 9. My husband and I are both artists and our son is budding. I am the only one in the family
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 3, 2005
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        I wanted to intruduce myself. I'm Kristi, and my son is Sage, 9. My
        husband and I are both artists and our son is budding. I am the only one in
        the family with formal art training. I was very lucky to have a great art
        professor in college. My son wants to be an artist one day too. I came to
        the group looking for ideas to help me help him develop.

        I'm just a homeschool teacher, and I don't have any teaching specific
        credentials, but 6-8 year olds are always going to be hard to reign in for
        that long. 90 minutes is a very long time for them. With boys, their fine
        motor skills just aren't that great at 6-8 and anything that resembles
        writing will have some of them balking. Cutting can be hard for them too but
        is good practice. I took my son out of school for this reason, among
        others. He was not doing anything in school. He had a high IQ, but was
        terrified of writing because he could not do it well, so he just quit doing
        anything. After I took him out, until this year, I've avoided the whole
        writing thing. I taught him to type, and now that he is 9 his handwriting
        is coming along great and looks beautiful. The extra time to get his fine
        motor skills up to par really worked miracles. His art has also jumped
        leagues in the last year. Now he is 9 and can type and write beautifully
        too. So some of the boys in your group may be struggling with fine motor
        skill issues. Girls should already have these at this age. Girls and boys
        with a paintbrush or a pencil are like apples and oranges at this age.

        I'd try to be real structured with several short projects and breaks in
        between. Can you do a story a bit of art, then read a story to them about
        art, then do another project, maybe do a song or a game, then another
        project? I'm not a professional, just a mom who has studied a lot of early
        childhood development, but that's what I'd do. Kids this age have no real
        concept of time. I used a kitchen timer with my child. "We are going to be
        doing xxxxx for 15 minutes, and when the bell rings, we will stop and then
        have a short break before we do yyyy." That kitchen timer helped me so
        much. Just a 4.00 white one you buy at wal-mart. It helps kids pace
        themselves and gives them a concept of time.

        Bless your heart! Teaching a gaggle of 6-8 year olds art sounds like a
        nightmare.

        -Kristi

        _____

        From: art_education@yahoogroups.com [mailto:art_education@yahoogroups.com]
        On Behalf Of jeljohns25
        Sent: Monday, October 03, 2005 1:28 PM
        To: art_education@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [art_education] need help and advice please-new teacher!


        I started my first teaching job at an art museum teaching 6-8 yr old
        mixed media. We are three weeks in and every class has been a
        disaster. I posted previously about the fact that the class is 90
        minutes long and these kids go through anything I give them at warp
        speed, or 3 minutes in to the project they start complaining that
        they are bored and start asking if we are done yet and what is next.
        I have one boy who gets up out of his seat constantly and wanders
        around the room and NEVER finishes a project. This past week his
        mother came and sat in on the class (he kept getting out of his seat
        to talk to her and she ended up doing most of his project for him!).
        After class she came up to me and started yelling that her son was
        very upset that he didn't get to finish his project last week and
        didn't want to come this week because he was so upset. I explained
        to her that no, he usually does not finish a project, but I always
        keep them so he has the option of working on it the next week but he
        never wants to. She just kept ranting and then stated that I should
        let him do whatever he wants. This boy also never wants to do
        anything, he'll sit in front of a blank piece of paper for an hour
        and when I ask him to start on the project he just says "no, I don't
        want to" but I guess he is going home upset because he is not
        finishing. None of my kids seem motivated or inspired. Last year
        torn paper portraits were taught with great success according to the
        past teacher, so I thought I would try it with this group at the last
        class. My goal was to teach them facial proportions and shading.
        They just didn't get the concept of different colors in the face and
        instead of tearing the paper in to small pieces as instructed, they
        just glued large chunks on to their papers so they could get finished
        sooner. I am at my wits end and am not sure what to do. I don't
        want to quit, but I just feel like this class is not a benefit to the
        students and it makes me feel like a horrible teacher. Since I am a
        new teacher I am not sure how to deal with parents and their
        complaints and concerns either. I finish my teaching degree in a few
        months and now I'm not even sure if this is what I am supposed to be
        doing with my life. I would really love some advice from seasoned
        teachers. Feel free to contact me off post.

        Thank you so much in advance!!!
        -Jeni





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      • Cassie Stephens
        Jeni -- I just read your e mail and I want to tell you that you are very brave. To be teaching a class with little or no help, advice and direction from those
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 6, 2005
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          Jeni --

          I just read your e'mail and I want to tell you that you are very brave. To
          be teaching a class with little or no help, advice and direction from those
          "in charge" is very difficult and lonely. If I were in your shoes, I would
          ask to have an emergency meeting with the supervisor and explain how
          frustrated you are. They are asking a lot of you and not giving you enough
          direction. I would also seek out other art teachers at local schools and
          start observing immediately. Even if you do not know them personally, call a
          local elementary school, speak with the art teacher and see if they are
          comfortable with you sitting in on a couple classes and picking their
          brains. I would ask for professional leave to do this and sit in on as may
          art classes as you can. You'll learn so much about what to do and what not
          to do!

          In the mean time, some great books to check out from your library are:

          Children and Painting by Cathy Topal
          Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks
          The First Days of School by Harry Wong (might give you some discipline
          ideas)

          Not only do these books have great lesson ideas but they'll give you some
          insight into working with children as well.

          You can do this. But it takes practice. I've been at it for 7 years and
          still learning just like the kids!

          Cassie
        • Dodi Schwab
          Cassie Stephens wrote: Jeni -- I just read your e mail and I want to tell you that you are very brave. I have been considering your
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 6, 2005
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            Cassie Stephens <cassieart@...> wrote:
            Jeni --

            I just read your e'mail and I want to tell you that you are very brave.



            I have been considering your situation since I read about it--I think most of us who are teaching have had these feelings at some time! If you have a meeting with the supervisor, as Cassie suggests, you might want to ask if they have any background information on the kids. It's possible they've taken these art classes before. It's better to know, for instance, if someone has a learning disability (it will alter your expectations) or has been a troublemaker previously. Perhaps your supervisor would be willing to supply an assistant. Museums have volunteer staff. Maybe a college student...

            As for the mother who sat in on the class; ask her advice. Tell her what you observe with her son, and ask her how she handles his behavior at home.

            I agree with the other posts recommending that you break up the class into segments. I think I would prefer that as a student myself--90 minutes is a long class. Prepare more material than you will ever think of using and encourage the kids to work slowly. In my high school art classes, there are always the kids who finish the project way too fast. They don't get a good grade most of the time (because the work isn't good). You don't have that motivating factor, but you can effusively praise the slow, careful workers. Hold up their work for the class, and say what you like about it! The kids will catch your enthusiasm.

            Hang in there!



            ---------------------------------
            Yahoo! for Good
            Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • draw.art
            Don t forget the enthusiasm of allowing for experimentation with the media- try to make up games-allow 10 minutes for producing, say, the most blues that you
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 6, 2005
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              Don't forget the enthusiasm of allowing for experimentation with the media- try to make up games-allow 10 minutes for producing, say, the most blues that you can possibly mix ( hm.. does this one count as a blue? What did you add to it? etc) and then move on to a project that uses these skills- say, a painting of an ocean or a pool. Another segment of the class could be creating little prints from styrofoam of people playing in the ocean, fish, etc. kids could trade- it's fun to trade and you trade ideas that way, too. Print out the prints in many colors that are NOT blue, glue on, even make little slits in the paintings and insert the prints . Have things to look at , to touch. Maybe sea shells. Don't move on til you've got your shells back. Photos of oceans to LOOK at, discuss the different blues in the photos. Then, show how you can use white or near white with toothbrushes ( if you have them) to make it look like foam.(more playing, experimenting...etc..If you have sponges you could show how to use them here, too. I think kids this age need to play and experiment. Some just like that part and aren't focused on the end result so much...but of course you are, and always bring tem back to the works in progress and why that student used the blues so well, etc...I teach that age for 90 minutes and this one lasted 2 classes somehow. We got into discussion of what could be going on at the water as we made the styro prints. E mail me off line if you want- i have a few photos. Don't panic- and BTW the mother of that child lets her kid get away with murder if you ask me- " let him do what he wants" may be OK for her home but not for your class unless that's your policy.
              Barbara
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Dodi Schwab
              To: art_education@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 11:24 AM
              Subject: RE: [art_education] need help and advice please-new teacher!




              Cassie Stephens <cassieart@...> wrote:
              Jeni --

              I just read your e'mail and I want to tell you that you are very brave.



              I have been considering your situation since I read about it--I think most of us who are teaching have had these feelings at some time! If you have a meeting with the supervisor, as Cassie suggests, you might want to ask if they have any background information on the kids. It's possible they've taken these art classes before. It's better to know, for instance, if someone has a learning disability (it will alter your expectations) or has been a troublemaker previously. Perhaps your supervisor would be willing to supply an assistant. Museums have volunteer staff. Maybe a college student...

              As for the mother who sat in on the class; ask her advice. Tell her what you observe with her son, and ask her how she handles his behavior at home.

              I agree with the other posts recommending that you break up the class into segments. I think I would prefer that as a student myself--90 minutes is a long class. Prepare more material than you will ever think of using and encourage the kids to work slowly. In my high school art classes, there are always the kids who finish the project way too fast. They don't get a good grade most of the time (because the work isn't good). You don't have that motivating factor, but you can effusively praise the slow, careful workers. Hold up their work for the class, and say what you like about it! The kids will catch your enthusiasm.

              Hang in there!



              ---------------------------------
              Yahoo! for Good
              Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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