Monday, February 27, 2012

An Art Teacher (Long Term 10)

I had some memorable moments today.

After reading to today's kindergartners, they got to roam around and find books to check out.  A few minutes in, a little boy runs up to me with a large book, featuring a close-up picture of an alligator's jaws on the cover.

Boy: Mr. C!  Look at this big bastard!
Mr. C: ....what?
Boy: Look at this big bastard!
Mr. C: ...say that again... what am I looking at?
Boy: This big bastard!
Mr. C: That's what I thought... you know, kiddo, you shouldn't say that "B" word, it's not a nice word.
Boy: But, my dad says it.
Mr. C:  I'm sure he does, but that's a word for adults to use...
Little girl: (blurting out) my brother calls me that all the time!
Mr. C:  ...

A few hours later, during my 7th grade art class...

Mr. C: Alright guys, I know a few of you are still finishing up your project, so I want to give you one last day before we start something new.  As for the rest of you, I expect you to either be working on other homework, or working on one of the free draw prompts.  And, stay out of the paint.  If you're free-drawing, you can use crayon, pencils, or markers.
Girl: Can I use glitter?
Mr. C: No, glitter always makes a mess, and we're running low anyway.
Girl:  But Mr. C!  I need to have color!  Glitter is my favorite color!
Mr. C: *starts laughing* ...okay, thank you... I need to write that one down...

I also discovered today that one of my 7th graders is a 3rd cousin.  She couldn't get over how "weird" that was.

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Art Teacher (Long Term 9)

I've been on this assignment for about four full weeks now, and things are pretty much falling into a normal routine.  One thing that I have been doing is asking the advanced high school art students to give me their own critique of their work, before I grade it.  I don't think this is asking too much, and more than once it has resulted in kids going back and putting more effort into their projects, just because they realized it didn't live up to their own expectations.
So, yesterday, when a very quiet, shy Junior girl (who I've had in various classes since she was a Freshman, including a previous 5 week long-term job) turned in a fantastic rendition of the human eye, I asked her, "out of 30 possible points, what do you think you've earned, and why?"  Right away she gave me a number much lower than what I thought was fair.  When I asked why, she pointed to a small section of slightly uneven shading (that I thought looked great).  I then asked her if she really thought she should lose so many points for such a minor error.  At this point she started to turn bright red, wouldn't make eye contact and started muttering, "I don't know."  After a few seconds of this I realized she was trying not to cry; so I let her sit down and cool off.
I felt like a monster.  But, seriously, did I do something wrong?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Art Teacher (Long Term 8)

I had to order some paint a while back.  When it came in, I found that the office had ordered it in my name, as oppose to the regular art teacher.  I thought that was fun.

I've also found out that I will be filling in for the regular art teacher during upcoming parent-teacher conferences.  Since they are after regular school hours, I just hope that I get paid for it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Art Teacher (Long Term 7)

In addition to teaching art classes, I spend a period each day in the library.  The first 20 minutes are spent reading the elementary kids, followed by 20-25 minutes of supervising them while they check out books, and then the rest of the time I shelve books.

I had a group of kindergartners in today.  They come in the same day every week, but today they were exceptionally squirrelly.  They wouldn't sit and listen, they were hitting each other, they were tattling on each other, and just generally behaving like a box full of ferrets.
When the teacher came back and asked how they were, I told her that they were having a very loud day, and had trouble sitting still.  She nodded, thanked me, and instead of lining them up to go, she herded them into the side-room that serves as the elementary library.  I went about my business shelving books.  A few minutes later she came out and said that they needed me in the room.
I was pretty sure I knew what was coming, but I didn't know how to react when the following came...

Teacher: 1...2...3...
25 Kindergartners: ...We're sorry we were... dis-re-spect-ful...we promise not to do it again...can you ever for-give us?
Mr. C.: .......yes, of course.  Thank you....

I couldn't get out of that room fast enough.

Later in the day, during Yearbook, a senior boy decided he had to "serenade" me with the song Hero by (I think) Enrique Iglesias.

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Art Teacher (Long Term 6)

My middle school students started a new project today.  I bought five different shapes of pasta, and they are gluing them down on an index card.  They will then draw a close-up of a section of the space they've filled.  They purpose is that they will use shading techniques to give the pasta some depth.
I wasn't sure how much instruction they had received on shading techniques, and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to give them any.  So, I went on YouTube and found a video.  I will post it below, but I had them follow along with the person on the screen, as she sketched out a few examples.  Some kids seemed to find this pretty interesting and helpful, while others couldn't believe that I was making them practice something.

I didn't make them sketch the horse OR the mane.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Art Teacher (Long Term 5)

I over heard the following conversation today in one of my high school art classes.

Student 1: Wait, who's Bill Murray?
Student 2: You don't know who Bill Murray is?  Dude, he's a comedian.  He was in Space Jam.

I spent time after school mounting some student work on large sheets of cardboard, so that I can hang them in the hallway.  Just as I was getting ready to head to the other end of the building to grab something, three students walked in.  One of them is a very avid art student, and someone I know I can trust.  I didn't really know the other two girls with him, but they seemed trustworthy.  He wanted to show the girls a project he was working on.  I told them that they could stay while I went out, but to just close up the room if they left.
While at the other end of the building I ran into another teacher, and we started chatting... 30-40 minutes later I walked back into the art room, only to find that the three students had CLEANED the place.  I had been doing a pretty good job keeping stuff picked up, pretty much in the same condition I found the room.  These kids put everything away, clearing off all of the counters and organizing the supplies.  I was so shocked that I probably seemed ungrateful, just because I had no idea what to say... "thanks" just didn't seem like enough.

An Art Teacher (Long Term 4)

This should have gone up as two separate posts, but I forgot about it.  Oh well.

Today my 7th graders organized giving me "the silent treatment" at the start of class.  They didn't say a word as they filed into class.  When the bell rang, and it was time to get started they continued to stare at me, not making a sound.  I know they meant it to get on my nerves, or make me upset or something... but it was amazing.  I was able to get through attendance, review the project they were working on, and get everything started in record time.  The magic eventually broke, but it was great while it lasted.  I might need to make them mad at me more often.

Well, my 7th graders took their frustrations about how I graded their project to the next level.  During lunch I was talking to the principal about ordering some paint, when he mentioned that he had been swarmed by a large crowd of seventh graders, all complaining about me.  He told them that if they had a problem, they needed to calmly talk to me as individuals, instead of whipping themselves up into a frenzied mob.  We talked about it a little bit more, and it became clear that I have his support.
When you're a sub, knowing that the principal is willing to trust your judgement is a pretty big deal.

I had my seventh grade class right after lunch.  Not only did no one say a single thing about the grade issue, but they were all being extra sweet and nice, drawing me pictures and writing "I <3 Mr. C." on the board when my back was turned.
Granted, I don't like them drawing on the board, and they should have been working on their project, not making little drawings for me... but it is the thought that counts.

Monday, February 6, 2012

An Art Teacher (Long Term 3)

I finally got access to the online grading information today.  Having three classes in the same room is still going to be complicated, grade-wise, but not too badly.

My 7th graders let me know today that I grade much harder than their regular teacher.
Student:  Uhh... excuse me, Mr. C?  Yeah, no offence or anything, but Ms. H. would have given me full points on this.
Mr. C:  Let me see... I took off all of three points, out of 30, because you didn't follow directions... here *point* and here *point*
Student: *walk away muttering* So not fair... I'm an artist...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Art Teacher (Long Term 2)

I read my middle school students the riot act about the mess.  The past couple days they have done a surprisingly good job of cleaning the room at the end of the period.  

I've spent this week sorting out and organizing all of the piles of student work around the room.  I have given back at least 2-3 projects per class period. I'm also starting to wrap my head around the organizational system. 

My next big task is going to be the main storage room.  There are a lot of items that I just don't understand.