Thursday, February 16, 2006

Teachers and Teaching

I attended a terrific workshop for the New Jersey Artists-In-Education Program. Heard a little about what some local schools would like to do with their artists and got a great tour of the application from the woman who coordinates the artist end. The more I learn, the more I like; it's a wonderful way to ingrain the arts in education.

That insinutation of the arts is clearly called out in the application which, in addition to requiring applying artists to demonstrate they can create a cohesive crescendo of an arts experience, asks us to define what the "lasting impact" of our residencies with the kids we will teach. An excellent idea - it's one thing to immerse students in art, it's quite another to do it with a purpose and a plan.

Another thing our applications get graded on is the quality of the experience we design for the teachers of the students we propose to teach. This is both for their professional development and to make deeper and more permanent the connection with the curriculum. Remind teachers of how the arts can reach them. What they're capable of - the arts as well as the teachers.

This application process has made me take a serious look at what I consider unique about my artistry, what I consoder worth passing on. I'm quite hopeful I can become part of the program and make it work with the other obligations in my life, but even if that doesn't work out, I've learned an awful lot about myself, and about a small group of people who use a little bit of state money in an absolutely amazing way. I'll gladly settle for that.

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