Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pet Peeves - an Opinionated Post


Let me start with a disclaimer. The pet peeves that will be mentioned in this post are mine, only mine. It's absolutely OK if you feel totally differently than me about the things that get me irked. We come from wildly different backgrounds and live and teach in very different locations and settings. So I don't expect you to agree with everything on this post.

I'm sure your own "pet peeve" list will be different than mine, and that's good. It won't make me like your blog any less, or make me stop reading your blog if you don't agree with me, and your opposing opinions won't hurt my feelings in the slightest. Actually I rather enjoy some good hearty dissent, which is good because I admit to being rather opinionated. So here goes:

MY PET PEEVES:
  1. Blogs with automatically playing music, with no easy-to-find "off" button - I may like the music (or not) but the fact is, I'm often blogging at the same time as my hubby and I are watching TV (or listening to an interesting show on public radio) and I see that annoyed look on his face when suddenly music is blaring from my laptop during a favorite show. So I often close the post rather than finish reading, and I may not leave a comment even if I really wanted to, unless I can get back to it during a commercial or when the TV is not on.
  2. Art education blogs where the photos show only teacher samples of lessons, and we never get to see the work that the kids create using these lessons.
  3. Art teachers who are afraid to use some types of materials because they are "too messy" - an art teacher should NEVER be afraid of a mess! (except maybe on school picture day).
  4. "Cookie cutter" art projects, where everyone's work comes out exactly the same, and there is not really any opportunity for creative expression within the parameters of the assignment, lesson, or project.
  5. Classroom teachers who bring their kids to art 2 minutes early - I don't know about you, but those 2 minutes are precious to me, when it comes to re-supplying tables, and getting out the class's work. It makes me look unprepared.
  6. Classroom teachers who show up 2 minutes late to pick their kids up from art - again it makes setting up for the next class difficult, and it also means I have the kids lined up at the door trying to be quiet for longer than necessary.
  7. Lefty scissors - I am a lefty (are you?) and struggled as a kid learning to cut. My mom made me practice on paper dolls, and I loved designing their clothes, so it was fun practice. But I always have cut right-handed. I do not think lefty scissors cut as efficiently, mostly because we do not hold a scissors or cut the same way with our left hand. A lefty child will be more successful learning to cut right-handed. Besides, so much of our world is right-handed, from the shift on my car, to the mouse on most computers, to crazy things like rulers, and soup ladles, and my hand mixer, and my iron. It doesn't pay off not to be able to use them effectively.
  8. New educational "initiatives" without adequate follow-up - As a 35 year veteran teacher, I can't even begin to tell you how many of these I've seen, from local initiatives, to statewide and national ones. I'm not saying that some aren't worthwhile (they definitely are), but nothing is effective without adequate time, training, and follow through, and it always seems we get going gangbusters and then fall short.
  9. Professional development programs that don't have a component that addresses the arts or creativity at all - I've been through many such programs or models or initiatives and I feel we are often left out or ignored.
  10. Posters, signs, handouts, and other printed information with spelling and/or grammatical errors or typos - especially when it comes from a teacher or administrator and is going home to parents. When you are sending info home, take the time to spell-check and proofread, especially if you KNOW this is not your strength. **Notice I DIDN'T include blogs in my list of posters, signs, and handouts, because, while I try to proofread mine, I realize how spontaneous blogging can be and how easy it is for there to be errors, especially when dealing with the quirks of Blogger.
OK, a list of 10 is certainly enough for now, so I guess I've reached the "tail end" of this post. (Or maybe this is the end of my tale?)

24 comments:

  1. FYI: Fiskars brand kids' scissors are made to go in either hand, for those still deciding. My daughter took until nearly 1st grade to decide. She writes and eats left; bats, plays tennis and cuts right. This is, of course, because she is a genius. Seriously though, I think she was taught to cut right-handed. Lefties who cut right-handed are exercising both sides of their brains. Nothing wrong with that!

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  2. I'm glad to read your opinion about lefty scissors... I never really thought about it until I was looking at new ones the other day. I was actually looking at Fiskars and liked that it said they can cut left or right.

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  3. Yes, I know Fiskars cut with both hands. My point is, (and I say this from personal experience) that cutting is just not done the same with the left hand, so it's better to encourage cutting with the right.

    Melanie, lots of lefties throw a ball with the right, and we pretty much all cut with the right (rather than righties who switch their fork out of their right hand to cut with their right. I suppose maybe all we lefties are geniuses? ;-) Seriously, I think lefties are way more ambidextrous and I think using both sides of our brains regularly definitely impacts our creativity.

    This part of this comment is for Jen, who just started her own blog. Why won't it let me leave a comment? I wanted to welcome you to the world of art teacher blogs but it won't let me. You may want to adjust your settings to allow comments from anybody as you are getting started. If only followers can leave comments, you won't have much response for a while. I'm sure other bloggers might think like me and want you get going a bit before we sign on to follow. I hope you read this!!

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  4. Hear, Hear! I agree with everything but most especially early AND late classes. Since I have a solid, steel door I admit that occasionally I ignore the early classes & let them wait. 2 extra minutes waiting outdoors/outside (no indoor hallway) in our hot AZ weather OR in our infrequent rain showers tends to cure most of them. Late teachers, especially those who are habitually late, are showing disrespect for our program and depriving their students of the same opportunities as other classes to complete the work successfully. The late classes consistently score lower than those who arrive on time...

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  5. hey phyl, what about kids art books with these amazing perfect projects in them that a real kid could never dream of doing. The Art Attack books are especially guilty of this-- the stuff looks SO cool in the photos...and kids can never EVER get it to look even close. lots of disappointed kids when theirs isn't "right." i never have these kind of books around my room for everyone's sanity.

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  6. I'm another lefty that cuts with her right hand! I remember my preschool and kindergarten teachers giving me "Lefty" scissors and reprimanding me for not using my left hand because I was "left handed." My mom had to talk to them about that :)

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  7. It's funny that you mention blogs that do not include kid samples because honestly, I really just like seeing the teacher samples :) I don't know why, I just do! I try to post both on mine, unless the kids are still working on the project and I feel like I just have to blog about it RIGHT NOW!

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  8. I get up early (5:30)and have a cup of coffee while I check out the blogs. I've had a few jolts when I logged on and my speaker volume was up high. But I love Sharpie Woman's playlist so much, sometimes I log on just have her playlist as my background music. I was never offered left handed scissors as a child so like many of you, I can only cut with right-handed ones.

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  9. Speaking of mess... I just found out that the art teacher here before I arrived NEVER PAINTED with the students, or at least the K-2!!! I am shocked. I was trying to find paint shirts today, and guess what... there are NONE! This is going to have to change. I vow to never be afraid of mess!

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  10. Oh my gosh, and art teacher that never painted with the primary kids - yikes! They must be SO excited now!

    Mary, I'm NOT a morning person (I'm a nightowl) so I don't have time to look at blogs in the morning; as a matter of fact I just get out the door in the nick of time. But yes, I also like Sharpie Woman's music, and also the fun music at Two Soul Sisters, and several others, BUT there are times it is an intrusion. So I'm not saying not to have a play list - just, if you DO have a playlist, make sure there is an easily visible Pause or Off button so I can stop the music from blasting into my living room at inappropriate times.

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  11. ooooh, early and late arrivals...our staff decided to use our cell phone clocks when heading to and from specials; at least we are all consulting the same time, even if we are not "on" time. :-)

    ReadWriteSing

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  12. Loving number 9.... especially since we have a PGC day this Friday which... get this.. is about the "core subjects." The administrators have even prepped us to come with an open mind knowing that it more than likely will not relate to us "specials" teachers. I mean... I understand that we can't have pgc days about drawing and painting, but c'mon! at least ONE day about some creative thinking??

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  13. Yeah, the WORST in my school is the 6th grade. They are officially "middle school" even though they come to my room for art. So the homeroom teachers, who still teach them for a large portion of the day, let the kids walk to art on their own, so they send them early and I have a bunch of eager faces at my door. The kids don't know what to do when I tell them it's not time to come in yet, and then I feel bad because it's not their fault. Sigh.

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  14. Hannah, the irony is that here in NY state Art is officially considered a "core" discipline, but I have yet to see it included in any of our professional development programs. And frankly, I think that EVERY discipline could get something from learning, for example, about the brain and creativity.

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  15. Amen, my sister! I was just kavetching to my coworker today about the cookie cutter art thing. And sometimes it is shocking to see who produces it! Just look at Artsonia sometime. There are many wonderful pieces there, but then there are those galleries where every kids' piece looks the same.

    Early teachers and late teachers. Oddly enough, I've have little of that this year. I put a clock with big red letters outside my classroom this year. Beside it is my daily schedule. I see people rushing up to my room with their eyes on that clock. Lots of folks comment on it. Seems to be like the big red eyeball watching to see who is naughty and who is nice. I've also taken to just shutting my door a few minutes before a class is to show up. With the clock right there by the door, I don't get many folks giving me the sad eye to get in early.

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  16. Oh my! Is that terrible and sad if I didn't even know that? The way NYS is crazy about testing and how everyone I work with still calls art a "special"... I would have never guessed!

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  17. Oh, and my last comment! Ha... if you happen to see anything on my site without student examples, it's because they are from my life skills class. They're usually a little crafty and usually very "cookie cutter." I'm not allowed to take pictures of the students at work and they always take their work home right away! So I never have a camera when I'm with them... The students are severely low functioning and the teacher assistants get EXTREMELY nervous when they have to do a project without an exemplar or which requires them to do any kind of "veering off."... I just had to share that because I'm anti cookie cutter, too, haha! I swear!

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  18. Hannah, no need to explain yourself! We all know what type of stuff I'm referring to, and it isn't coming from you!

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  20. Mizz D... I KNOW how you feel! I travel between two schools and am pretty much never in the loop unless someone remembers to personally fill me in, which is not often. What I did find, however, to be a little more helpful is at the school I travel to in the afternoon, the secretary has started a binder for me (and for the whole school really) that has photocopies of all the morning announcements. When I come in I just skim through it real quickly to see if any sports are leaving early, if there's chorus rehearsal at a random time, etc. It won't include ALL of the little unexpected things, but most! Hope that helps! : )

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  21. Mizz D and Hannah, I know how you feel. Ironically, sometimes communication was BETTER when I taught in 2 schools. Teachers at certain grade levels often don't tell me about field trips, assemblies, special events, music lessons concert rehearsals. We just have to "roll with it" sometimes! I think that the nature of what we do, the unexpected stuff that happens with creativity, makes us better at dealing with last minute changes than a lot of other teachers. We are a tough bunch!!

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  22. After reading Mary's comment I went over to SharpieWoman to listen to Pat's playlist. I really like it, too. I am OK with music on blogs if I like the music choices and it doesn't startle me when I log on:)

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  23. I hope my situation is a little bit of an exception. I do post more examples than student work, but all their work can be found on our Artsonia, which I point to frequently. Our school is VERY small, and strangely web-phobic. It took a crazy amount of promoting and reassurance (and a few enthusiastic cheerleading parents) to get a near full Artsonia permit for my students by end of year last year. I am so excited that we have only one hold-out this year!

    All that to say that parents have been reluctant to let me post their students' work, even though I don't post students at all. As they grow in trust of me and how I use the artwork, they are warming up to it, and more student art is being used on my blog. Although it really is only sort of an art-ed blog. It is more a my-life, part-of-which-is-teaching blog. And I am working out my lessons for my own future reference more than anything.
    Anyway, just making excuses. I guess. I adore your blog and learn a tremendous amount here.

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  24. Hi Phyl!!!!! I did read your comment. Thank you so much. I am trying to figure all of this out and I will be changing the part you mentioned. Thank you for your comment.
    I found you last year toward the end of the school year and I have to say your blog and many others have helped me. I find it exciting to see all of you and your creativity!

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