A while back, I posted about my experience teaching high school this year. I can't say it has improved too much since the new term started, but I try to focus on the positives and the influence I am making on kids who really want to be there. And actually, I know I have some impact on the kids who are taking my class just to pass an elective. I can tell by the way they engage in conversation and even share things with me, occasionally asking my opinion on different topics.
I need to work on not getting worked up over the kids who consistently don't want to put in the effort. They are young adults who know my expectations, and as much as I push, they make their own decisions about their actions and earn their own grades, not me. If I am in the high school again next year, I need to advocate for no more than 25 students in a class. (Right now I have 30 with 24 desks...) I know if the class size was even three students smaller than I have now, I'd be able to give more feedback and attention to individual students than spending my time surveying the area, keeping students on task. But who knows! Next year could be completely different.
I've found it very interesting how overwhelmed and worked up students get when asked to draw from their own imaginations and ideas. It makes me want to really look at the way I teach. Perhaps focus more next year, at the upper level, the process of being creative. I think I need to really explain why we take the steps that we do... brainstorming, sketching, evaluating, creating... and not just go through the motions. Being in grad school has really got my mind turning and thinking about how I teach and where to go from here.
My Art 1 students are finishing up some observational and compositional drawings of soda cans that has (thankfully for me to feel more successful) brought their shading and observational skills to the next level. After a quick activity about color and abstraction, we are moving on to a long term painting project inspired by Peter Max. I already know I am going to go insane painting with 30 students in a classroom that isn't mine, but oh well! My hope is that they will learn some new terms, experience a new material and paint something inspired by their own life after all these technical drawing activities. I really hope students take the opportunity to branch out. (I also hope they come out awesome since we have an art show at the beginning of April!)