That’s right, I said it, your Art Class time should be cut!
This issue is perhaps one of the single most important and anger educing issues in our industry right now. As the big wigs attempt to squeeze out the Arts in favor of more math and reading time, we’re left trying to defend our classroom and the merits of our industry. Often times, the ‘middle-ground’ that is found is that Art time isn’t eliminated all together, just precious minutes cut off of the end of each individual class.
When our art time was cut, we were told it wasn’t the time you had with students, it was what you DO during that time. How you maximize that time. I thought it was bull honky. I laughed. I was mad. I was confused. Now, I actually believe this message, and here is why…
Since my art time was cut, I appreciate every single second I have with my students. I don’t fluff up the lessons, allow a student an hour just to “free draw” and basically that means scribble with a texture plate for an hour because they rushed through the project. Before you would walk into my art room and kids were all over the map. Today, you will see a much more focused and yet creative art room.
Now, my lessons are planned to the minute. If we have 10 minutes, I squeeze in the next concept or introduce the next lesson. Before, I would just wait, hold off, and let the room get out of control, sending the message that it’s ok to just hang out, making the art room more of an indoor recess atmosphere then a visual arts studio.
Now, students have a different view about what it means to come to the art room. They know they don’t DARE waste our art time, and I promise them I won’t waste theirs, and will be brief so they can get right to work. They take art more seriously now. This helps a lot with management.
Now, I am able to be consistent with curriculum. I know exactly how much set time I have to teach the concepts, and I stay on track because we can’t afford to loose any time.
Do I want my time back? OF COURSE, ARE YOU KIDDING? Once you loose time, it’s very difficult to get it back. But now, if I got back that precious extra time with students, I would know how to use time better, teach more focused art and creativity concepts and have a curriculum that really spirals and ensures a balanced delivery, not just 2 months of Monet because I like him personally. I would know what to teach and I would be able to fit in even more QUALITY and more ways to advocate for my program. Not fluff.
I truly hope your art time is never cut. I hope maybe this helps you to NEVER, EVER take for granted the precious time you have with students. Every single second they are in your art room is a teachable moment, that should be filled with quality art projects, critiques, assessments and conversations surrounding art. I at least want you to know there is hope, and you can get through this. You are not alone!
Tell me about the time your students spend in art.
How have you coped with cuts?