Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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June 01, 2018

Becoming an Art Room Advocate

From: Renna Moore

It’s Finally Here! Summer! It’s the time to rest, renew, and reflect on your past year and decide what worked and what needs to be tweaked. Coming up on my 14th year of teaching art and having the opportunity to write this blog, I thought I would first focus on something I feel has strongly helped the atmosphere in my classroom and improved the value of art in my school.

I teach at an urban Title 1 school in a failing district, where a large percent of the students are more concerned about getting to their part time job that pays the light bill and other teachers and administrators are more interested in test scores or school image.

I hear time and time again how art teachers feel underappreciated and devalued based on their subject matter. I even hear art teachers themselves refer to their classes as “Well it's just Art.” Okay I admit it; even I used to do that. But the more years I have under my belt, the more I realized that by downplaying Art and being willing to be treated as an Elective, Extra, or “Specials” teacher, I was making my job a lot harder on myself. Students know when a class is not considered important. Why would they obey, turn in completed work, or fully participate, when it doesn’t matter.

So a few years back, I made it my personal mission to become an art advocate for my classroom at my school. It has taken a while, but my art classes went from a 100% dumping ground to a classroom that is considered one of the strongest in the school and a subject that is held in respect with students, other teachers, and my Administration. In my June NAEA Mentor blogs, I am going to talk about different approaches to make your classroom stand out, fun Interdisciplinary lessons that bring art into each and every classroom, and different ways to be an Art Advocate of your classroom.



Jazlyne Wooden

Hi Jenna!

I am so excited for your blogs to come! I am also an art teacher in a failing district and in my very first year, like you said, I have quickly realized that art is not a focus in my current school. I, however, am an advocate for the arts and absolutely love my district! This coming year I will be teaching HS art and I will do all that it takes to help my students and the administration to fully realize the importance and relevance of art education! I look forward to reading into all of your advice on the subject and all of the goodies and golden nuggets that you have to offer this month!

Jazlyne Wooden

Renna* predictive text!

Dolores Ochoa

I work at a community college which in many ways may be one of the last refuges for diverse people from all walks of life to have a caring and empathetic space, based on mutual respect, and acceptance of everyone's individual voice.

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