Value is very important to an art teacher because we are called to share art with others. We do not do it for the money or the recognition; it’s the small things. The smile on a child’s face when they paint for the first time. The smile and presentation of their smock as they enter the art room. The tears you see when they mess up and the smile when you show them that artists never mess up. We always mean for that to happen, it’s the artistic license we all have. This is what an art teacher experiences everyday, this is what I cherish and remember as I reflect on my years in the classroom.
I know my students value me, I am the art teacher, it is almost a given that 80% of students love my class, much like the gym teacher that has 98% of students eating out of their hand.
Contrary to my students, I HAVE NO VALUE TO MY ADMINISTRATION. I do not improve reading comprehension. I do not increase math fluency. I do not teach the writing process. I do not teacher math computation. Art is not mentioned in my schools’ improvement plan, in our mission, vision, or anywhere else of importance. On paper, I am a wasted teacher unit. (Yeah, I have tears in my eyes.)
So, to decrease the waste of my teacher unit, I have to incorporate writing into my classroom. I have to push into math classrooms and help other teachers. I am forced to go to professional development that will never improve my class. I stand cleaning paint brushes wondering, why do I do this when no adults care?
This is me. But, if it were you, how would you feel? Would you want to go to work? Would you be able to greet your classes with excitement? Would you be able to sit and listen over and over and over and over again how other classes are important and yours……silence?
Yeah…… I HAVE NO VALUE, but if you step outside “THE BOX.” And you look at the big picture. Art is more important than anything you will ever learn in Math and ELA. The act of creating is key to a successful society and my students create everyday that I can teach art. Crazy thing, I can teach math while creating art. I can teach reading and writing while creating art. Art is that all-inclusive class where you do it all and HAVE FUN TOO!
I am valuable and an asset to every school building in Delaware. We need to wake up and see all Creative Educators for their value to society!