Today was another tiring work day in which my entire day was filled with classroom management and assisting students as they work. I have found that I don’t like work days much. It is tiring on me as I pace the room and help students as they need. In the Art I classes I am frantically moving about as several students call for my help constantly. My feet hurt, I feel flustered, and I get incredibly bored. The days feel long, and I feel like I’m doing the same thing every day. I feel as if I’m not benefiting the students since I’m not actually teaching, but I know that’s not true. The students are receiving my personal help and are learning through creating as they work on their artworks. I just feel more energized when I’m actually instructing or presenting material. I haven’t figured out how to brighten work days for me.
Today I continuously ran out of clay for the Art I students and had to cut clay several times. Thankfully today was Cougar Time where classes are shortened to allow for a new class period in which the students participate in activities led by a peer team leader. I used this extra class period to cut more clay which I ended up needing again. I have found that I needed more clay than I thought and it may have been more beneficial to cut all 10 or so boxes of clay in one long setting, rather than cutting one box at a time. I am sick of cutting clay. It’s long, it’s dirty, and it’s hard to fit into the day. Next time I do clay, I’ll prepare for it better and cut all the clay I need ahead of time.
Because yesterday’s critique with the Painting II students didn’t seem to go well and all of the students turned in their artworks without changing them anyway, I had to come up with another thing for them to do while the rest of the students finish their assignments by the Wednesday deadline. It’s crazy that some students finished within a few days and others don’t look like they’re going to make the deadline. It’s hard to set deadlines in the art class.
To occupy the Painting II students temporarily, I decided to allow them an experimental day, something I’ve seen my cooperating teacher do. I explained that I would give a new assignment to the whole class tomorrow and today they have the day to experiment. “Dig out the watercolors, the acrylics, the pastels! Try something you haven’t tried before! We’ve got plenty of scrap paper; today’s about experimenting and learning on your own!” I was pleased that the students were very receptive. All of them were eager to try something on their own and many of them grouped up and painted together. There were portraits, landscapes, watercolor, acrylic…I was excited for what they were creating and learning. I thought that this was a beneficial experience for the students and an exciting reward for finishing early. They were occupied, painting, and seemed to be learning. Unfortunately though, my cooperating teacher told me afterwards that she would prefer that I have an actual activity for the students instead of allowing an experimental day. Tonight I need to prepare a new activity for the early finishers to work on. In the future, I think that an experimental day could be a positive reward for good behavior or possibly for students who finish early. As long as students are working and learning, I believe that it is beneficial.