WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GOOD PLACEMENT
Last week we looked at what the student teacher should think about when choosing a student teaching placement. I want to extend the idea a little more in terms of what a good placement for either student teaching or a pre-clinical experience might look like for a good experience. Each observation should give you valuable information that will help you prepare for your career as a quality art educator. Sometimes I hear from my students about an’ uncomfortable’ situation. A teaching style that they had a difficult time understanding or embracing. The teacher candidate should be looking for teacher mentors who will enhance their growth as teacher candidates. Often a single visit to an art room may not give you the true picture of how the art educator and teacher candidate might work well together. The most important element in a good placement is the art educator. Added to that component the teacher candidate should consider these facets of a school that assist a quality art educator.
1. When you walk into the school do you feel that the arts are supported? Plenty of artwork on display around the school. . .classroom teachers display work from the art class. . .the main office has some student work on display. Teacher candidates often write in their reflections, “I felt the minute I walked into the building that they loved art here”.
2. The presence of the art educator is felt everywhere in the school. The art educator has been a collaborative member of the faculty.
3. The art room is a creative haven for everyone, including the classroom teachers. On-going projects appear in classrooms illustrating connections between content areas and the arts.
4. School budgets for art supplies vary greatly from school to school. It would be remiss to say that the support of the arts in a school is visible by the number of supplies a school provides for the students. Finances in schools today are stretched beyond acceptable limits. Many administrators, art educators and the school community have creative ideas on how to provide for the art supplies for their students. Investigate their unique approaches for your arsenal of teaching information.
-Anne L. Becker, EdD