Saturday, October 2, 2010

Some art math

(thanks Mr. Demuth! You must have know I would want to write this blog one day;)

So this afternoon I am a football widow. I figured I would get my lessons done for the week and got to wondering what we were doing this time last year. Thanks to my trusty blog I was able to go back and look... and then some. As I took some time to re-read some of my blogs from last fall I was struck by how I am having the same thoughts and problems yet again this year. The funniest part is reading about how upset I was at the schedule changes made last year. Well guess what...the schedule is still my biggest problem and, though I did not think it possible, it is even WORSE this year.

Last year I saw the kinder and 1st graders back to back, 3 classes in 90 min. (all other grades came for 40 min) During that time I had to walk them to the gym, pick up my next group and get back to my art room. This left very little time for cleanup, drinks, bathroom, dealing with behavior on and so on. Anyway while the elective teachers did not like this way of doing things apparently the school admin thought it was great. So guess what? Now ALL the classes k-5th come back to back to back. Oh and to make it more fun, 3 classes rotate through 3 electives in only 80 min this year. As Kermit said on the Muppet Show YAHAHAHAHHA!!! (sarcasm people) Yes that is 26.5 min per class and I still have to walk them to the gym and pick up the next class in that period of time.

Lets do some art math:
Classes come in, 5 min to get seated and go over expectations and quiet; for 2nd and 3rd class in each rotation this 5 min includes switching classes (21.5 min left in class)
5-10 min to explain project/ demo/ read inspiration story/ pass out supplies (16.5-11.5 min left)
Work time (find x)
Clean up, put away supplies, art on drying rack, line up for hall (5 min)

16.5-5 = 11.5 min to work OR 11.5-5 = 6.5 min

So there you have it ladies and gents 11.5 to 6.5 min to work on a project each class period.
Our efforts to talk to the school admin have been fruitless so far. The VP has pointed out that I see all the 2nd-5th grade students TWICE a week for 26.5 min at a time. I pointed out that after getting settled down, taking out supplies and cleaning up, that we would get a LOT more done in only ONE 40 min session. The other elective teachers concur. The admin shrugs. ARGGGG.

Needles to say it is taking a long ass time to get anything done this year. Not only am I behind from being out of town during my Dad's funeral, but it also is taking at least twice as long to get through projects this year.

This my friends, is babysitting during which time we dabble in art, this is NOT art education.
Hence I have scratched my complex plan for the year of "Why do people make art". No time for deep philosophical thought. Instead the first part of the year will focus on the elements and principals of art and the second half will focus on artists from the 20th century. And at the end of the year. I'm outta here. It's either a new school or a year off to "re-assess" my carer choice.


  1. I'm going to stop complaining about my schedule now.

  2. I feel your pain - I left a school site after 17 years because of the 'block' scheduling in the final 2 years. Fortunately, the new school opening up was headed up by a former teaching colleague (now an administrator). Things have been better the past 9 yrs - we have an modified block schedule with common teaching time vs. common prep times. My schedule this year is 2 of same grade levels - 20 min break - 2 of same grade levels - lunch & 45 min prep - 2 of same grade levels. However, we have a new VP this year & she has already started mumbling about common preps. Our MAP (music, art, PE & band) is strong & 2 of us work up the schedule every year. I hope we have no changes but you are so right about babysitting vs. art of luck to you!

  3. My district has gone from 45-55 minute art classes in the 12 years I've been teaching art there, to 30 minute classes because "it is easier on scheduling" AND because now I am also the Title 1 teacher so that my job is not full time...that way my salary (for a full time teacher) can be supplemented with Title 1 money! I'm not happy either, but I can live with it if it means I can teach art rather than teaching in a classroom (which I have been doing for the last 2 years: 1/2 day kindergarten, 1/2 day art). But you are right, it is *not* art education. I am going to TAB choice art in my K-3 building, in hopes that the students will have more time for art making!