10 Things I Love about Teaching Art
Some days I feel like giving in. I don't mind the work: Driving to and from Downtown LA in heavy traffic; staying up late to prepare class sets of kits for students to make artwork. I love that stuff. What gets me is when the students don't listen to me. I used to think that if I teach something I love and the kids enjoy, then I would not run into behavior problems. But I was wrong. Thanks to my friend's helpful suggestions. Yesterday went better. But I need to keep it up.
Here are some highlights:
1. I asked the kinder class to draw and paint their favorite place. One kid drew his house with all the family members resting while looking at their devices.
2. A student who usually have behavior problems sat quietly from beginning to end, making a really sweet sculpture of two friends standing together.
3. A student who is known to throw temper tantrums took the initiative to help me for the day.
4. Something cool about teaching is that it prompts me to read lots and lots of art books. I get inspired from them.
5. The kids make elaborate things. I gave students foam stickers of different shapes. They could cut it into shapes of their own designs. One student created a whole scene of someone riding the surfboard into the sunset, with texture for waves and everything. She went above and beyond what I was expecting.
6. When the kids love something they do in my class, their teachers let me know: "They loved the puppets!"
7. A few kids gave me valentines even though I'm not a regular teacher.
8. I brought a book for a boy who loves ninjas. I saw him diligently looking at the book and recreating ninjas in his painting.
9. I received a lot of help and support from friends who are teachers. They offer suggestions and meet with me to discuss further, so I don't get discouraged.
10. This kids give good feedback to each other, sometimes more so than us in college. They would say, "I like this part of your artwork." And they would go about explaining why they like it. Their teacher did a great job in working with them.
Some things I need to work on is that I'm not always fair. Why do I give stickers to some kids and not to the others? It was the easy thing to do at the time. In the aftermath, I realize how unfair it is from the point of view of the kids. I'm terrible when it comes to clean-up time and get the kids ready for the next thing. I am grateful for the teachers who stay behind or come back early to help me out. But I need to do it on my own, so the teachers could have a real break from their classes.