My first year teaching high school art wrapped up pretty quickly. I gave my last exam the morning of June 21st, and as I read many of my students' answers, particularly in the reflection section, I felt pretty satisfied with my performance as a teacher and very proud.
I really wasn't sure how this year would turn out. My style is very different from the other teachers, including the one I will be taking over for full time next year. I started the year just as nervous as the freshman! I also know that the majority of the kids I had this year, came from having art once a week and were thrown into having it three days in a four day rotating schedule. It was a lot for us all to get used to. (In fact, I don't think we hit our stride until March.)
We are required to give a final exam that takes place during a designated time. Each of the four teachers did something different, but I liked my exam for it's comprehensiveness and would only tweak a few things for next year.
It began with a vocabulary section, with a word bank, and students needed to fill in the correct term.
Next were two images where students were asked to identify and explain how two elements or principles of art were used. The E's and P's were listed on a bulletin board but students were reminded to back up statements with evidence from the images.
In the third section, students needed to properly shade a sphere with a light source, start to complete a drawing of a wolf (no more than 15 minutes) (I was looking more for measuring and proportion than anything else), and complete an analogous color fade with color pencils.
In the last section, students discussed their last assignment by addressing a series of questions, then wrote about their opinion of art and creativity and in conclusion, answered what they learned in art that they will use in their future art or work.
The last section made me feel proud and accomplished.
Some didn't answer. Some wrote bogus statements. But there were a bunch of others that thoughtfully took the time to consider the year and wrote accordingly. Many took note of how we always had a process: we were introduced to an idea, asked to reflect and sketch, revise and plan. THEN move on to a final. Many answered that through time and hard work, they would find results, and that is what they were taking with them beyond Art One.
To me, that is huge.
Only a handful of my students are moving on to Art Two. Students have the ability to "major" in an area of study, and unfortunately right now Art is not one of them. So many do not have the space in their schedule to move on. But for me to end the year knowing that many could recognize the value of dedication and hard work is amazing.
Yes I am teaching basic art skills, but I was a first year teacher. I am only NOW revising and editing and focusing my curriculum. So for my students to recognize a process is awesome. For them to realize and see first hand the results of dedication, is even more amazing.
In the next few weeks, I plan to sit down and really attempt to hash out a new curriculum. I have the ability to focus on just five classes, instead of 17, this year, and I am beyond excited for my students and myself.
Look for some changes to Chucks and Crayons, for sure!