Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The End

Sometimes, the good news is the same as the bad news. This is preamble to the announcement that I have to quit writing this blog. Happily, I have recently accepted a gig in San Francisco, and, since there are only so many hours in the day, sadly, I am out of here.

I have enjoyed keeping this teaching artist blog for the Association of Teaching Artists, and I hope it has been of some use, or, at least, diverting.

Dear professional Teaching Artist: I appreciate you, and I hope you keep in touch by email. If you are a teaching artist who would like to keep a regular blog for other teaching artists, please contact Dale Davis and she'll give you the hook  up!

If you miss me, I can still be found here and here.

As usual, I will close with some rambling essential truths, a couple of slogans and a few random calls to action:
1. ATA's Executive Director, Dale Davis, is a hero and a visionary! The Association of Teaching Artists would not exist without her. This organization belongs to you, the working TA, and with your commitment and contributions it has the potential to be a national organizing body for professional teaching artists. Do something!
2. Teaching Artists of the world, unite! Demand a living wage, healthcare and some sort of a pension plan. They will never give us what we need unless we push for it, and even then, probably not, because paying people what they need to survive is not cost efficient.

3. We do the work.

Also: Got To Get You Into My Life - Earth, Wind & Fire

Friday, October 1, 2010

Draw Them In

Drawing is fun, and sometimes a distraction. For instance, in those rare moments when we are all seated, I may notice a student doodling while I'm trying to teach other things through theater. I'm being all about experiential learning and whatnot and there they are doodling, not paying attention to me, but to the lines unspooling on the page. Noticing, I say "Hey!" but then I wonder, if they are bored, then perhaps I am being boring? If so, my hurt feelings are not the point. Maybe I should check my ego, and expand my thinking? Maybe I should bring the art of drawing into my teaching practice to increase levels of student engagement. Maybe adding more art processes to the mix will grab their attention and draw them in? The first reason I do not use much visual art practice in my teaching, is that I suspect everyone in the room can probably draw better than me, and, secondly, I have no idea how to talk about or describe the process of drawing. Luckily, I discovered this new series called Line by Line by James Mcmullan in the New York Times, which describes the art and practice of drawing by hand. Serendipity. The first article in the series was about drawing an ellipse, referred to as "the frisbee of art." The most recent piece builds on the first, and describes the process of cross-hatching in great detail.  Just like that, my problem is solved. Now I can practice drawing with students, talk about drawing with students, and I can even use this thoughtful series of articles to get students to read about and reflect on the art of drawing. It's like a lesson plan just fell in my lap.

Line by Line by James McMullan can be found here.

Also: It's Friday, and ATA is on the social network called Facebook. Where are you?