Earlier this month, an article was shared that reminded me of what I had posted in my first blog…that the arts in education are still fighting to stay alive. This paragraph caught my attention while reading:
“A fine arts education — including music, theater, drawing, painting, or sculpture — whether in practice or theory, has been a part of any well-rounded curriculum for decades — but that may be changing. Many schools today are cutting back or eliminating their art programs due to budget constraints. It is estimated that by the end of this year, more than 25% of public high schools will have completely dismantled them. These stats aren’t just bad news for teachers working in the arts. Numerous studies done over the past decade have demonstrated the amazing benefits of such an integral facet. Students who don’t have access to art classes may not only miss out on a key creative outlet, but might also face greater difficulty mastering core subjects, higher dropout rates and more disciplinary problems.” (from online college’s 10 Salient Studies of the Arts in Education.)
When I look at the news about the arts being removed from more school districts every day, I stop to think about the fact that I not only have a job teaching what I love, but that my students are receiving a well-rounded education. Travelling and cart pushing are two very tricky challenges to overcome, but when you look at the bigger picture, you are helping provide a creative environment for your students and training the next batch of right-brained thinkers.
You are important. You help shape the creative element of your school. You bring every inch of art history, culture, and design to your students through your curriculum. You overcome your obstacles, reflect on your practice, and become a better teacher in the process.
Has someone complained about your cart being in the hallway? Don’t worry about it. You have what you need to educate the students in the arts, and you’re not in the way.
Someone complain about your space, or a little bit of mess left behind from paint? No one’s perfect. Be glad you are able to provide the students with that little bit of mess.
Did you forget something at another school? Subside that frustration and be happy that you care to make sure your students receive everything they need for that lesson (and send an email to the teachers asking if they have the material you need…which I had to do today).