When I turned in my grades on Friday, I felt freedom, well, for the next two weeks anyway. So, I have made it halfway through the year. I'm doing okay. Planning is still the worst part of teaching. It really makes me mad when someone says, "It is just art." As if art were so simple anyone could teach it. Give 'em a piece of paper and have them draw - if only it were so simple. I'm constantly thinking about what to do next. What will interest the kids? What will help them learn? What will keep them busy? What will work in class? It takes a lot to plan, gather the supplies, and execute a piece of art with 70 kids. When I taught English, I had textbooks, curriculum guides, etc. Rarely did I have to collect supplies and set them up. I could easily say, "Take out a sheet of paper and a pen..." Art takes lots of planning to pull it off well. Then, some of my students are diligent at their art wanting to produce something nice. Others are slackers and just whip out anything as quickly as possible. Some do nothing at all. It is very frustrating.
We were required to give a final the last two days of school this semester. Some of the kids were exempt. If they had an A and three absences, a B and two absences, or a C and no absences, they did not have to take the final. As long as kids turn in work, I won't fail them, so lots had good grades. But it's amazing how many did not turn in work, making it hard to give a passing grade. Earlier in the week, I had a kid who was being a pest. I told him that if he did not straighten up, that he would be taking the final (he was exempt because he is rarely absent). He looked at me and said, "You would lie about my grade and make me take the final!?" I replied, "I already lied so that you did not have to take the final. I can certainly change that." Yep, art is one of those subjects where I get to decide the grade. You really should be nice to me :)
I've actually had students who were mad at me when we have had a critique and I point out problems in a piece of art. Never mind that I point out good things, discuss what makes one painting more likable than another painting, effort, following instructions, etc, and I am trying to encourage students to try harder. They seem to think they are all created equal and everyone should get a good grade for trying. Ah, "trying" would be the key word to consider here. It is amazing how they want something for nothing. It is a sign of the times.
Reality is that judgement is an everyday occurrence in life. In this politically correct world, they may think we are not to judge others, but everyone judges. It is what we do with our judgement and how we do it that makes a difference.