Student Teaching Reflection: Thursday, February 12, 2015

Today is the last day before my four-day weekend! I’m excited for the time off to catch up on work.

I don’t feel like there’s as much to report on today as it was a work day for every single class period. In AP Art, we had only two students as there were two absences. The students worked on photographing their artwork and uploading it to the CollegeBoard website. I helped one student crop her artwork and change the file type to fit the standards of the website.

The Art I classes are always the hardest, and they were just as difficult as they have been all week. Students are still working on their linoleum prints and I still feel as I did earlier this week, that my cooperating teacher’s process is more difficult than it needs to be and that students are wasting time and resources while printing and their prints aren’t as successful as they could be. One major concept that the students don’t understand is the Artist Proof, but I feel that my teacher did not teach this concept well enough. My cooperating teacher has given the students a different color of paper to print on for their artist proofs to help them see the difference, but she never actually explained what one is or what it is used for, so I feel that they aren’t understanding the concept. Some students are printing their artist proof in the middle of their prints or after they’ve printed their series. Some students are printing all of their prints on the color meant for artist proofs or are printing multiple artist proofs. Some are also including the artist proof in the series and many are mislabeling it. My cooperating teacher never explained that the artist proof is a test print to see how the print will come out. Some students aren’t liking how their prints are coming out and when told that they can continue carving and print again, they were blown away. That’s exactly what the artist proof is for; to see how the print will come out and allow you to make changes before you start printing your actual series. When I teach printmaking to my students I want to make sure to clearly communicate this fact. The same goes for labeling as almost no students are labeling their prints correctly. I have corrected so many mistakes, but it could have been avoided if the students were taught how to label more effectively.

Otherwise, the Art I classes have been the same as they have all week. Some students are printing, some are carving, and some are still working on their designs. The printing stations are still a nightmare and there’s a lot for the students to clean up afterwards.

I did feel a boost today when I helped two students who are struggling in the class to complete work or find motivation. One student had begun carving his linoleum and was struggling to actually carve the material. He was scraping at the linoleum but not carving deep enough to actually make a print. I continuously demonstrated how to grip the tool and use it appropriately, but he was unable to grip it correctly or push it deep enough into the linoleum to leave an impression. I thought about giving him a larger tool to work with and changed his Size 1 to a Size 5. I had him try to carve out his circles instead of his straight lines this time, and he was able to do it! I loved seeing the smile on his face as he finally carved the linoleum deep enough. I let him be the rest of the class and at the end was excited to see he had cut out a great deal of his design.

Another student had struggled with coming up with an idea and once taking my suggestion to do words, he designed some beautiful words in his sketchbook. Today, I instructed him to trace his design against the window to insure that his words would be backwards and encouraged him to add a background. He added a lined pattern in the background and began carving. I helped him decide what to carve and showed him how to select his blades and he set to work. This student rarely accomplishes much in class, so I was excited to see some progress.

At one point my cooperating teacher thanked the class for their work as they’ve been excelling with this project. Many of them have come up with complex, complicated, and beautiful designs that will make great prints. Even some of the more troublesome students have created quality work. My teacher and I are pleased with the work the classes have been producing, for the most part. Their printing, on the other hand still needs improvement.

Today was the day that my teacher wanted the Painting IV classes to turn in what they had accomplished on the assignment even though it was originally due next Friday. Because the projects were due at the end of class, many students did not progress and didn’t accomplish much. I was then sad to see that once a grade had been recorded, the artworks were thrown away. Even one student who had been diligently working on her artwork and was excited about it gave up on it and disposed of it after the grade was put in. She had only drawn on her piece and hadn’t gotten to painting it yet, but she had lost her motivation. I was excited to see her completed piece and it hurt me to see the students giving up on their artworks. I think that the original deadline should have been kept, but a new lesson could have been introduced next week to give students a choice of what to work on. This would also give them responsibility to balance assignments and make sure to meet their deadlines. It would also prevent them from thinking that if they don’t like an assignment, they don’t have to work on it and the teacher will give up on it. I was just disappointed with the results of this assignment.

The day ended with the Painting II class, in which the students were finishing up their abstracted self-portraits. Two students in particular needed a great deal of help from the teachers today. One was the same student from before that’s always too afraid to mess up. I walked him through painting his eyes and adding a bit of contrast to his piece, but it was difficult because of how indecisive and uncaring about his work that he is. For not wanting to mess it up, he really doesn’t seem to even be interested in the works. I tend to ask students what they think of the work a lot so that we can work off of their feedback, but he always replies, “I don’t know what I think. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t even care about this assignment or get the point of it!” Then whenever he made a mark he would always immediately become unhappy with it, “Oh great, that doesn’t look right at all! Now I can’t fix it! Now I need to start over. Whatever, this is stupid anyway,” he would say. Both my teacher and I have been struggling to instill confidence in this young artist and help him to create work that he is proud of.

Another student has also been incredibly nervous about proceeding with his piece and has been requesting my help each day. I’ve been walking this student through adding a background, painting his mouth, and finishing the painting, but he has also shown dislike for the piece. He trusts my word and will do what I say, but will always seem nervous and apprehensive about it. I’ve been trying to explain to him the suggestions I make such as, “I suggest adding more dark purple because you have some in the top of the piece but it’s nowhere else. This will help tie it in and create unity.” Unfortunately class ended before this student was able to finish his painting, but I’m hoping that he will end up liking it when it is completed.

This week has taught me a lot about confidence, motivation, and interest. Students need to be interested in what they are working on. They need to have choices and they need to feel encouraged and motivated. With knowledge, they feel the most confident, so I feel that they should receive more instruction. My students expressed that they never see real-time demonstrations, so I feel they could benefit more from that. I also feel that they need more review of previous knowledge as the terms my teacher says they should know, they don’t seem to remember. I also just feel like they need more instruction in general. The AP students haven’t received any, and I feel that they should be working at a college-level, and most of the time the classes begin assignments without instruction, vocabulary, or even seeing examples. I feel that there needs to be more preparation before execution. While less work may be produced that way, at least it would be work that the students feel confident in and proud of.

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