Adventures in Education

In the midst of a presidential debate, a floundering economy, and global warming – what is it that I, as an art educator, worry about? Last year – my first year –was so valuable even though it was so challenging. There are things I learned that has almost become second nature to me this year. Classroom management is still a struggle, but new insight has given me a better outlook on how to handle many situations. It has given me more room to focus on individual students. And I have begun to discover some of the pain these kids must suffer in their lives – the things we as adults tend to forget that come along with being a child.

A lot of what I'm finding are children who need validation, attention, love and encouragement. I learned at the end of last year and over the summer that there are educators who believe that classroom management should deal very little with consequences. By that, I mean that if we took a more proactive approach – where we focus mainly on relationships, monitoring and encouragement – then consequences become less of an issue. So I am trying this approach this year and there is some truth to that theory. But there are a handful of students that I am focusing on that really struggle because they feel out of place everywhere else and thus carry that with them into my class. True, I only have students for 25 minutes at a time, twice to three times a week, but I still feel compelled to reach out to them. One in particular actually thinks that I do not like him at all. I've given this particular student a lot of thought this week. My personal goal is to reach out to him, to let him know that I do care. And I hope to see him try to make more positive choices. Because I get a feeling that few adults have really done that for him.

It also strengthens my resolve to become a better father to my own children. They are definitely more privileged than most of the children I teach, but there are universal needs that every child has – no matter their financial and family situation.
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