Friday, March 30, 2012

Last Day

I'm a contracted teaching artist which means I don't have a school that I am attached to.  I'm kind of a gypsy art teacher going from residency to residency and grant to grant, not knowing when or if I'll be employed once a residency is over.  I had a long stretch in a single district a few years back and was able to teach a pool of students four years in a row (what a treat).  But that was before the economy tanked. Unfortunately art is almost always one of the first things to go so that was the end of that.

For the past several months I have had an art residency at a K-3 elementary school where I worked in conjunction with a drama teacher.  She taught drama to half of the school for 8 weeks while I taught visual arts to the other half and then we swapped. We were fortunate to be able to teach at the school for 2 years in a row.   Eight weeks is not a lot of time to build a foundation in any discipline but being able to return each year at least reinforces whatever learning occurred.  Next year due to the uncertainty of school funding the grant will probably not be renewed.   Today will likely be my last day at Kemble,  not just for the this year but probably ever.  Sadly this will likely be the end of any real art exposure these kids will have.

So another teaching phase is over with and I have mixed emotions.  Because the schools that are eligible to receive grants are usually the ones that need the most help, teaching can sometimes be difficult.  Some days were really frustrating and it was hard to keep a positive attitude but other days were rewarding enough to make it all worth it. I was gratified to see that most of the kids seemed genuinely sad that art was over with.....even some of the ones that were the most difficult to work with.   I get a week off to catch up on my own stuff and then it's off to a new school. With school funding the way it is now my job is like a series of one night stands......

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