As I contemplate the second half of both my school year and the second half of my UF experience both of which are NOW upon me, I have to ask myself some enduring questions about how to shape and form the way I interact with my student and how they receive instruction and what enduring ideas do I see for them.
Enduring ideas are designed to open up discussions and create a balance of student ideas and interest across the art curriculum, so that the artwork considered as a catalyst to explore ideas for further meaning (Stewart, M. & Walker, S., 2005). When there is a shift from a dominate discipline based orientation to a focus on real-life issues, students have a buy-in to why they are learning what they are learning. Enduring ideas may be one-word statements or an elaborate phrase. There must be a connection to what the students are familiar with and are able to comprehend in multiple context and experiences. In developing my own curriculum I found it beneficial that Stewart and Walker (2005) broke down criteria for generating curriculum: (1) student interests and needs, (2) artistic understandings and processes, and (3) contemporary culture. These three components allow for a more directed formal instruction with student interest being the focal point of the lesson to promote discussion and exploration of ideas. Having this understanding will promote individual approaches to artwork. In the past I would present a standard and the students would model after me. They may have understood the concept, however they didn’t comprehend it in a way to apply it outside of the art room. At the end of the lesson I would have 25 versions of the same things which is not a meaningful lesson. With a proper enduring idea, students can personalize their work and make applicable life lessons to their thoughts and inkling.
One of the best days of my life, to be acknowledged for doing what I'm supposed to do. But I wonder did I put too much emphasis on what I have accomplished and not enough time and energy to what I'm currently doing and what I eventually plan to do? Have I focused so much on the product of what I want to be that I have forgotten about what it is that I'm doing? Over the course of the past two years, I have been headstrong and consistent, asking more questions about the process of art education and coming up blank. This current situation that I find myself in is the most cumbersome situation that I have been in for as long as I can remember. A place of knowing what to do but unable to execute an action plan.
As I said on that night in November, I am humbled and honored, but am I worthy. I need validation, and, unfortunately, I don't think from where I seek validation, am I going to get it. From what I'm hearing, I'm average at best amongst a cadre of superstars.
There is an entire world of art educators out there, some that do scholarly writing about the craft that I have made a career out of. They just do not write one-page lesson plans, post them online and call it a day this is something that is deeply rooted in their being that they live to do. The profession of educating art educators has changed drastically over the last 20 years since I earned my BFA in art education. I recall in my four years of study maybe reading 5 or 6 journal articles, here I have read well over 40 in just over a year’s time, with I’m sure at least another 40. That’s 40 that I have written some response to, made some sort of annotated quote on. I have scooped, tweeted and facebooked more in the sake of art education in this year than I have in my entire 16 years teaching career. And it’s not enough.
For the first time, I wanted to go to NAEA; I just had to meet some of these people that I had written about, studied, and quoted. I will be making the art educators professional pilgrimage this year to New Orleans, to shake some of those hands and to take a selfie with them. The convention was in Washington DC in 1999, but I didn’t start teaching until that fall, so I had no real vested interest until it came to Baltimore in 2004. There was no push from my school or district to go, so I didn’t. This year, I fell like it is mandatory like I’m going to miss out on something if I don’t go.
And to think, this is only the byproduct of the process [course work], I can only imagine what the benefits that the product [degree] will be, time will only tell.
I'm more than my title will ever be.