On Facebook recently, I asked art teachers, “What advice should I give prospective teachers in my preservice methods class? What are the most important things you think they need to learn?” Here are the wonderful responses (each one from a different person):
They need to learn:
1. How to observe your students carefully as they show you what they know already and what they still need to learn.
2. How to differentiate instruction and requirements so that every student can achieve.
3. How to make do with tiny or non-existentent budgets and how to get students and families to buy in to sharing found objects for the art class.
4. How to create learning experiences with whatever materials show up in your studio classroom.
5. How to offer experiences to students without a predetermined result.
6. How to appreciate the aesthetics of authentic kid art (and remember that many great artists share that aesthetic preference) this is an astonishingly beautiful reference for that
7. How to have a great time with little kids--they are the best! If they can do this, it is the best job in the world.
I know gathering all the things I need for a lesson - visuals, supplies, PowerPoints, etc. - and having them in an easily accessible place before students arrive really helps you to utilize your time well, and keeps students engaged. Maybe this is a no-brainer, but being prepared ahead of time really stops the off-task student behavior that can happen when you're searching for your step by step examples.
They should know how to praise kids genuinely so that children do not work to only please the adult but engage in their own potential; and how to let go of an adult perception of what is "good."
1. bake cookies for the office secratary and custodians. They cam make your job better or worse and cookies are always a good idea!
2. never speak ill of anyone. they may end up being a friend, a resource or realted to someone important!
3. plan ahead! students may work faster than you expect. have supplies ready BEFORE class. what will you do with the work when done?
4. libarians can be gret sources for books related to topics. I love picture books as a way to introduce a lesson to young ones.
Don't be afraid to command the room. Students crave leadership and, if you don't provide it, one of their classmates will.
If you aren't confident in your own teaching skills yet, act like your own favorite teacher.
Better to be overprepared than underprepared. (For me, that means being prepared for next week's class while I am teaching this week's class + having a selection of "just for fun" challenges that students can try if they finish their work early.)
Bottom line advice to all my student teachers - writing objectives - if you don't know why you're teaching something, teach something else - kids of all ages know when you're excited about something- you should be excited about everything you teach... AND ALWAYS be prepared!!! Try to never have a moment that isn't planned - that's self defense - if they follow these rules, they'll be successful!
I totally agree with Margaret! Plus...read the Teacher's Edition of the textbook for beginnings and closure ideas...
Ditto everything that has already been said. I also think that EVERY art teacher needs to know how to make their program valuable to their school, the parents, obviously the students, and the community. Especially in this financial climate, the art teacher that knows how to promote and market their program in a way that demonstrates how important it is to the life of the school is an art teacher that is going to be one step ahead of any curve balls!I don't think it can start a year or two into your position as a teacher, once you have everything else in place. I think it needs to happen from the day you are hired and needs to be a part of every day. School, district, and community involvement is an art teachers best tool....or should I say weapon?!
Never say "I cannot" anything in front of your students! That just gives them the excuse to say it right back to you. I see this all the time in observations.
Try to plan lessons that students will feel connected to in a personal way...after all...it is about "their" art.
Stay out of teachers lounge...
When I taught a methods class at UWB a few years ago, I structured the class using arts integration. After spending some time exploring national exemplar programs and strategies, I brought in teaching artists in music, drama, and poetry (and myself for visual art) so that the preservice teachers got experience with the methods, and then practice in designing lessons. They basically taught their peers using many different "intelligences" for student engagement. At the end of the class, they had a collection of very useful lesson plans that they knew worked!
With your budgets low or nonexistent in the states, I'd advise them to think 'outside the arts catalogues'... recycle, look in the grocery stores for supplies - satay sticks, chop sticks, paper plates, plastic wrappers from veggies, meat trays; ask local retailers for their rejected materials; what can they paint on besides pure white drawing paper? -newspapers, magazines, telephone books, discarded posters, outdated paper of any kind, calendars, I've collected our school's old business cards to add to mixed media kids can paint over or leave as is;fabric shops , you don't need to weave using just yarns!
I found all the previous statements to be very helpful. One I would add is to remember what happens in behavior is not about you. The second you take a child's misbehavior personally you loose any influence you have over the situation. "I am here to help you. How can I help you work out what is bothering you. I can see you are very upset. Perhaps a little time to think about what you really need & communicate it to me we can come up with a satisfying solution." The goal is not to win. The goal is to support a child in crisis. an example: I often suggest a place to go focus and then come back to talk. Sometimes it is not immediate but never in 47 years did a child fail to come back in a receptive mood. Classmates do not see this as weakness which many teachers fear & avoid. A 5th gr. boy cursed at me under his breath. Of course we all heard. Girl came quietly whispering that maybe I didn't hear. I said I did hear but thought it would be best to address it in private. She thought that was a good choice. Later he came to apologize & had called a class meeting to apologize in front of the class. I said that was not necessary but he insisted he had 'dissed' me in front of the class so he needed to apologize in front of the class. Not winning every challenge is really winning if the child is safe.
I noticed a lot of focus on being prepared. This is a good practice as long as you remain open for the spontaneous and can embrace it when it presents itself. I prepared a lesson for 2nd grade on observational drawing using boxes of seashells ~ many shapes & designs. Principal popped in for unscheduled observation. A few minutes into orderly sharing of the boxes, closing eyes, feeling etc. a boy took center stage and started directing the lesson. He understood the concept and ran with it. I stepped back and let him take over. In a few minutes he turned to me & said. "I am out of ideas." so I took back leadership. In post-ob. principal asked how I could be comfortable relinquishing control to a 7yr old. I started defending my choice & she said she was interested to know how to get that confidence passed on to the rest of the staff that they can easily reestablish control. I learned the wisdom of following the spontaneous the first year of teaching. I had an overly prepared & controlled lesson out to demo. Class came in & a 4th grade boy stopped at the demo table & announced, "I know what we are going to do." and started doing what he thought. His idea was way better than mine so we followed his lead.