Thursday, May 13, 2010

Questions for Teaching Artists/Art Educators

I mentioned the Toolbox I went to and the small groups we broke into discussing the problems we might face in the classroom as art educators. I wanted to ask you...what are some of the biggest problems you run into? I'm sure you are not alone. It felt good to hear other people are having some of the same issues as I am. Maybe we can solve them together.

I also had a question for you. Do you ever draw or paint on a child's work? (note: I don't) and as a parent...would you say anything if you noticed this repeatedly happening with your child's work?


Prairie Mother said...

When i started teaching art my biggest obstacle was estimating the amount of time middle school students needed to complete a project. Many times they did it much quicker than I expected so I was scurrying to fill time. At middle school age if they were struggling with drawing something realistically I would help out on their drawing, but ONLY if they wanted me to. I was always very clear that they should stop me if they didn't want me drawing on their work. I would NEVER draw on my own boys' (age 6) artworks, I think they are too young to "fix" their artwork. When I was 12 years old, I drew a portrait for art class and the teacher returned it with comments written in the pen! It infuriated me and has stuck with me all these years. Her only response was, "It's just a sketch." Good thoughts!

Erin Laughpaintcreate said...

Time management is a big one. With the little ones I teach I can usually fill the time with a story or song. I am kind of laughing at the thought of getting middle schoolers into circle time and singing a song! ;)

I can see helping a middle school aged child. I can remember teachers in older grades helping me too now that you mention it.

I know what you mean by teachers doing something that sticks with you! Good or bad, lol. I actually gave up art for a few years in high school because of a comment a teacher made. Kids at any age are really pretty fragile.

Thanks for sharing with me!

Holly V. said...

I try my best not to draw on my students works. One thing you could do is carry around tracing paper. When a child wants help, show them how to do it with the tracing paper, and then have them draw it themselves. I usually do this with my older elementary students. The little ones usually don't want the help. I think this might work really well with Middle School students too.

I have a few students who are extremely needy, and they want help before they have even tried. I usually tell my students that I will not help them until I have seen that they have attempted it on their own first.

pink and green mama said...

I try not to ever draw or paint on my children's work or on the work of students. I will sometimes demonstrate on a scrap of paper from the recycling bin if they're stuck on something. But I used to always say "there are no mistakes in art" turn it into something new and see where the adventure takes you.

AT home, my biggest problem as my children's art educator is finding time to just play and make art instead of getting sucked into email/the dishwasher/vacuuming/endless laundry/etc.

At school I didn't like having to "grade" art students. I thought it was ridiculous that I was supposed to assign letter grades on art achievement. I didn't mind grading for Effort but achievement was something I would always argue with classroom teachers and administrators over. Who am I to judge a child's artwork?

BranFlakes said...

The parents are in the classroom with me and my students. My biggest problem lies in the facts that the grown ups are always try to do the kids artwork or finish it for them. I can't tell you how many times I've had to tell the parents to stop or that it's finished when the child wants it to be. It's very frustrating.

I never draw on my kids are work. The only thing I do some is write something as all of my kids are under 5, but even that is pretty rare.

Erica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica said...

I write a caption on students' work for Kindergarten. Since I have so many students I write it on the bottom of their paper in quotations. Sometimes it's nice to look back and see how their oral language grows with the visual. It also helps me learn more about what they are creating. I hope parents don't mind that I write it on the bottom of the paper. Would you? Be honest.

I don't draw on kids art work. They beg and they plead though! I don't know where they got this idea from because I've always been their art teacher. I teach in the innercity and I spend a lot of time and energy building confidence. They want everything to be perfect (whatever that is:)

Also do you have other adults in the class (helpers etc) who try to draw on the kids work? I am constantly telingl them that I don't care how it comes out as long as the child makes it but they still don't get it!

Erin Laughpaintcreate said...

Thank you everyone for your responses! Feel free to comment back to others if you have advice.

Holly, I like the tracing paper idea!

P&GM, I always tell them there are no mistakes. On certain projects i do not provide an eraser or new paper. We make it work!

BF, I have parents in the classroom as well. Sometimes the child needs their help like with using scissors. Sometimes I begin the class by saying something about letting the child create the artwork to encourage them to make their own aesthetic decisions. It tough!

Erica, I know what you mean by use of quotations. I don't have a problem with that! Maybe you could even style it like naming an artist print.

The issue I had is a 4 year old coming home and showing me which parts his teacher painted on a drawing she made on his paper to begin with! (I knew to begin with he doesn't paint all nice and neat in the line.)

When I teach I have not had to use quotations as the parents are there and they usually make a note of some sort as to the date and title.

How neat for you to be sharing art with inner city kids. That is really inspiring and I like how you say you teach confidence. Bravo!

thanks everyone! Keep them coming!


abc said...

I'm a former Art Teacher now stay at home mommy. The hardest things for me in teaching elementary were the time management, clean-up issues, and having a sense of continuity between once a week 30-50 minute sessions. There were those few students who never seemed to have the confidence to dive in on their own and that could be a frustration for everyone!

I always tried to encourage them to make it work and gave them examples of cases were that had happened. When they wanted me to draw I wouldn't ,but I would sometimes draw a quick sample of what they were having trouble with or let them look at pictures to observe an object more carefully. I had a college professor take my paintbrush and work on my canvas. All of my fellow students were outraged. The worst thing was that I didn't agree with his work; it just wasn't my style. I have that painting somewhere and the spot (very small) that he worked on is obvious! That taught me to respect each person's work as their own. Sometimes my daughter (4) and I will collaborate on art, but I would never do something for her just so it looked they way we adults perceive it should. I think it teaches a lot to little ones to have their art be THEIR art!

Phyl said...

I just discovered your question - don't know if you will still be reading these responses, but I'll try anyhow.
I don't draw on kids' work. I demo on a scrap of paper and then have them try it themself. I have some 1:1 teaching assistants in the room sometimes with special needs kids, and it is hard to keep them from doing their student's work for them. Frustrating.