Good Afternoon Wilma!
I was wondering if you had forwarded my Professional Development request to the Assistant Superintendent for approval. I am hoping he would consider covering the course fee for the Teacher Art Retreat. I know that all courses need prior approval and as his secretary, I was hoping you might have an answer for me. The classes start next week.
Thanks so much,
As of this time, I have not heard back from the Assistant Superintendent regarding your request but I can give you some feedback regarding a conversation we did have about it. Mr. M did mention that he felt as though we already have teachers specially trained in ART education, Technology, Theatre and Music and they would be more qualified to teach the ARTS to your students than you would be. They do have these subjects every week for 45 minutes and these teachers have a specific curriculum which is based on the standards. When looking at the work you would be doing at the retreat, it looks as though it is more play based and suitable for preschool and kindergarten and after school activities. I do not have a specific answer from him, but I believe he is going to send you a note with a denial.
Wow! I can’t believe that Mr. D
Mis that narrow minded. Has he not been part of the development of the district’s Strategic Plan? We are no longer teaching in the 1970s. Today, it’s about educating the WHOLE child. It is my job as a teacher to provide my students varied learning opportunities that may awake some innate passion in them, something they can connect to, something that makes them feel creative and happy….The ARTS can do that. They can give a student an opportunity to try something new, to take a risk in a safe and supportive environment, to feel passionate about something they have created and a sense of accomplishment. Integrating the ARTS into my everyday curriculum will provide an opportunity for students to be engaged and creatively problem solve. The ARTS are naturally differentiated and have been proven to help students regulate behavioral and attentional issues.
By experimenting and learning through the ARTS, students will realize it’s OK to be an individual and realize they matter, what they create matters, even if it only matters to them. They will still learn the academic subjects as it has been researched that we learn more by doing, remember more than listening to lectures, and thrive when we can apply and use our knowledge in real life situations. I may not be a certified ART or TECHNOLOGY teacher but I would still use the standards for those subjects as I integrate them into my curriculum areas. We have successfully integrated Technology into our curriculum, why not more theater, music and creative arts?
I am asking that Mr. M reconsider his opinion and support my integration of the arts into my learning community-my classroom. As a lifelong learner, I will benefit from learning new strategies and developing my creative side as well. Mr. M needs to be open minded and see that even though it may not look structured, there is a lot of learning going on and I am tapping into a student’s strengths and curiosity- and educating the whole child. I cannot imagine a life without the ARTS! This is what will give me joy and help me to be the best teacher I can be.
I have forwarded your message to Mr. M and he has decided to approve your course retreat. He is also excited to visit your classroom throughout the year to see the ARTS in action. He wishes you all the best in your endeavor to integrate the ARTS into your classroom. Great job making him think outside the box!
Author Bio: Anne Enaire is a 4th grade teacher at the Molin School in Newburyport.
Note: This string of emails was written for a course assignment. All names have been made up and the situation is completely fictitious. However, it’s quite possible this situation is happening in a school near you! ~EMP