Also titled: Red Headed Step Children.
Two days of monitoring site visits just happened. We always call that “people from the state.” We are trying to rise out of level four status and become a non – shunned non – leper colony just regular high school again.
We just had the commissioner of something come to our school as well not that long ago although he did not actually make it but his underlings did. I don’t even pay attention anymore to who is coming and why because the “state people” and anyone else never comes to my Drama classroom! I’m polling my colleagues now but it looks like no one went to any of the arts rooms, although they said they would visit 95% of the classes. If I tell you I feel like no one cares about the arts, theatre especially, maybe you’ll say I’m being whiney but here we go:
I haven’t been observed, period, since October.
Never any Big Whigs in my room. Never any “state people.”
Last year our big thing during summer PD was to get actual arts training at the museums not just reading strategies. There was a break out group for dance, visual art, and music…
Oh, and there was one, count it, one other theatre teacher at that training.
Most theatre teachers in our rather large district teach ELA or another subject, are not licensed, as I am, to teach theatre and teach one or two theatre classes as an elective. They don’t even offer it in middle school anymore although I had it in my middle school (same district, but long, long ago.)
Students are hardly ever scheduled in my class because they chose it and others who want it are not scheduled. That causes problems. Students are changed and removed my from classes all the time, sometimes to help them graduate, sometimes mid way through when they don’t need the credits and some times I am told it will happen and sometimes kids just disappear from my list. A fellow art teacher just told me she knew that another teacher called her class a “Throw away class.” My current custodian has it out for me and I have never had that problem before. Is it because of the extra bother my afterschool activities, during school performances, and productions cost him? I’m sure it is and he simply doesn’t view that as a necessary part of the high school experience.
People (policy makers, politicians, educators) will say that the arts are so important to a child’s development. But their consideration is not where their mouth is.
I am who I am today and WHERE I am because of the theatrical experiences I had in high school. Legit. I would not be a successful person without them. I was involved in Shakespeare plays all four years of high school and THAT is where I learned to understand his words and I KNOW I would not have otherwise. I learned to close read simply by the nature of what we do in theatre. Would I EVER had become an English teacher – one who couldn’t understand Shakespeare but had to teach it?? Come on, probably not since my grammar is already a strike against me. If I didn’t know I wanted to teach English – would I have ever gone to college?
Maybe, maybe, maybe….but my learning I gained besides all of that was and still is immeasurable. We know it. If you keep your ears and maybe your mind open you’ve heard it. So. People say it’s important. However, a policy from the “state people” that consistently choses not to learn what happens in arts classes means they don’t care. Actions and words people, actions and words.
I guess I just teach a throw away class.