Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Backpedaling



I need to back up to a couple of recent posts, about the new art teacher and the art room condition. I know blogs are a very public place, and everything I said and showed was real and true, BUT there are also things I haven't said that perhaps I should have... (and no, nobody told me I had to post this entry today).

SO - I want to tell you this: the former art teacher, while completely different in style and philosophy than me, and while leaving her room in a distinctly less than admirable condition, is nevertheless a good person. She is an immensely talented artist, has for years designed and created phenomenal sets for all the school musicals, and is a deeply caring person and well-liked by the students. Every student was always welcome in her room, whether or not they were signed up for an art class, and I doubt that she ever even took time out for lunch without kids in the room. Her room was an environment where 'different' kids felt they belonged. I know I rarely saw her anywhere else in the building.
Despite our differences in, as I said, style and philosophy, we did not have an adversarial relationship. As a matter of fact, we rarely saw each other. The two art rooms are as far apart in our building as they could possibly be, and as you know, the schedule of an art teacher is busy. Because we are a small school, frequently she was scheduled for (as is the new teacher) more than one course in the room at the same time - for example, studio in art at the same time as sculpture and/or photography. This obviously makes planning challenging, and your day busy. Mostly we would call each other on our classroom phones when one of us had run out of some color paint (usually white). And then a student would bring the missing color from one room to the other, and exchange a bottle of a color that was more abundant.
A lot of her annual budget was spent on materials for the sets, so she, like so many of us art teachers, spent personal money for materials to enhance her program. The unusual materials she ordered, while seemingly odd, were indeed purchased with specific plans in mind, or because they were a less expensive alternative to other materials.
I've not written this to excuse her for how she left her room, but to remind us all that bad choices don't necessarily make bad people!
By the way - there's absolutely no reason for the photos of my sweet kitty other than the fact that I always like to start a post with a photo and I have no new art room photos to share today.

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