Sunday, July 24, 2016

Artist Assistant

I facilitate a two hour session each year with our district's new teachers. One of the things I share with them is my hope that they are not in the teaching field so that kids can fulfill  some void in their life.

I want the teachers to fulfill the needs of the kids. I hope that they aren't using the kids to fulfill their own unmet needs.

That is why I sometimes struggle when I hear that teaching is a performing art and that great teachers are artists. I feel that it views kids as clay for the artist teacher to mold. Or the student as the blank canvas for the teacher to do their master work.

Many educators certainly do eat up the teacher as artist narrative which leads me to believe it is meeting a need of the adult.

It makes teachers the focus. It makes teachers the martyr or the super hero.

I much prefer to view the  kids as the  artists, and the adult as the artist assistant who gives the child what she needs to help her grow into a more  creative more confident creator and artist.

I understand that we all want to feel valued and needed, but why isn't meeting the needs of the child reward enough?

However, if we are going to continue to do school as it has traditionally been done, then I suppose teacher as performing artist is much preferable than teacher as dictator.

I also suppose that there may be an art involved in being a good artist assistant.


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