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Pre-service art teachers can foster their relationships with school colleagues by keeping resources at hand that enhance the collective necessity of educating children according to state mandates. I keep within my computer files and on my bookshelves useful resources that may be used to further educate my students on many topics covered in art that are not always apparent to those people who are unfamiliar with art history. Topics such as history, culture and life science are all very important to the development of an artistic mind and the study of these interests reinforces education on many different levels. I attended a teacher’s meeting at my assigned high school for the state, during my student internship in the Spring semester of 2011. At this meeting the art staff met with the English teachers to discuss the possibility of integrating their subjects. I developed a new lesson plan during this meeting that included the elements of text features within its objectives. I would never have thought to do so, if I had not attended this meeting and learned that students attending this high school experienced significant difficulties identifying text features. When I was asked if I could realistically create a lesson plan that would teach text features; I enthusiastically obliged my colleagues.
I can also expound upon alternative fine art subjects related to my own field of study through the school of humanities. Subjects such as music and theater can be addressed so easily within the fine art classroom. I often play select music that directly reflects the culture or time period of those artists my students are studying. It is a simple and appropriate addition to my curriculum that is encouraged by Missouri state GLE standards. I’ve listed here just a few music selections that I keep on hand in my classroom for cultural lesson plans.
While student teaching at my assigned elementary location, I introduced to my cooperating teacher and her small charges to a music selection about Vincent Van Gogh. Our students were painting starry night cityscapes when I first played the song to accompany their experience. I’ve linked to our favorite youtube version of Don McClean's, "Starry Night" included the cityscape lesson plan here.
As an art teacher, I can also design lesson plans that reinforce important learning practices such as: following directions, remembering facts, and comprehending previously taught information on a deeper level. All three of the above points are important in the fostering of relationships with other educators because the learning that students do in my own classroom then reinforces the learning practices of my colleagues. Ultimately, students do test better under conditions such as these.
Being an excellent teacher also requires that my education be very practical. I must learn to maintain my own understanding of current health issues that if otherwise ignored may result dire circumstances for those young people placed under my care. I’ve included an artifact under this Mostep that I wrote concerning bloodborne pathogens so that administrators can feel confident that I am aware of issues relating to public health awareness.
I can also foster relationships with administrators by consistently attending collegial activities such as school board meetings. I attended a school board meeting at a local high school district in order to better comprehend their necessity in my future career choice. I learned that being a school board member requires excellent management skills. There are so many details and complicated pieces of information to take into consideration when developing policies and balancing the budget. The meeting that I observed lasted for three long hours and was attended by approximately 75 people through out the course of the evening. High School teachers protested low raises to their incomes, students and teachers from an area elementary school were recognized formally for excellence, one child in a gifted program read aloud a story, bond issues were resolved, cafeteria programs were switched, and a new building for preschool and gifted education was approved all in one single solitary evening! The whole event was exhausting. I learned to respect the amount of time and energy involved in running professional education programs from this experience.
Art teachers should also foster relationships with parents and guardians of students through current technology whenever possible. Many schools today communicate with parents and students online through both private and public software programming. I have developed a variety of blogs where I can post assignments live. I can control what my students see and how they interact with that information by developing the internet resource myself. I actively develop projects and procedures that enhance my ordinary classroom curriculum in advance through these free interactive resources.