2015-16: A Year of Change (Part 2)

Meaningful professional development for art teachers can be challenging to come by. What has inspired you?

In my last post, I briefly commented on the leadership changes that occurred for me this year. The importance of remaining engaged in the midst of this change was the key takeaway from my reflections upon the matter.

With back-to-school comes professional development that is meant to inspire and reconnect educators to the foundational principles of learning and student engagement. Ah, there’s that word again…engagement.

Professional Development

Sadly, the only positive thing I can say about the professional development  offered this year was that they had us transition between buildings. Whereas in previous years we sat in one location and the presenters changed, this was much more engaging. There were a couple good sessions, but most were perfunctory and could have easily been handled via brief readings or an inspirational TED video via YouTube.

But, is that really that unusual for beginning-of-school orientation for those of us who teach art (or any specialist subject)? From friends I’ve talked to, no. How about for you?

Hope on the Horizon

I’m hoping that I can schedule some professional development opportunities that are more department-specific. I’m looking at local museums, as well as, possible online opportunities:

Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ) Full STEAM Ahead
(Regional Fall Conference)
National Art Education Association (NAEA) Virtual Art Educators Premier Professional Learning
The Art of Education Online Classes and
Online Studio Classes
Philadelphia Museum of Art Teacher Programs

In addition to these outside professional development opportunities, I had hoped to contact the private consultant that our department had worked with two years ago, but with our director gone I do not see how that will work out. Fortunately, there are options though.

And You?

What does art-related professional development look like at your school?

Does your team feel stuck in irrelevant offerings that lean so heavily on other disciplines?

What has been your most memorable PD? What made it memorable? 

Please, comment below with your recommendations!

Up Next

In subsequent posts, you can expect to read up on:

  • Our new school-wide character program
  • My return to my classroom (versus the cart I used two years ago—boy, that seems like ages ago!)
  • A few curricular updates

So, stay tuned and please contribute to the conversation.

Featured Artwork

Christina's World (1948) by Andrew Wyeth

Christina’s World (1948) by Andrew Wyeth

The painting highlighted in my post’s graphic is by Andrew Wyeth, a realist artist from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Christina’s World is a tempera painting filled with mystery and longing. Wyeth saw Anna Christina Olson, who suffered paralysis in her lower body from polio, from a window as she crawled across the field in Maine. This site inspired him to create the work. Wyeth’s wife served as model for the painting.

Without knowing about Olson’s diagnosis, you still can sense the longing from this figure, looking so frail amidst this treeless, dry field with a farmhouse (the Olson family house in Maine, actually)  seemingly so far away. Is she crawling? Has she fallen? Is she calling out? Does she need help? All of these are questions raised by students when I show them this painting. It’s a wonderful artwork rich with a history of its own, yet ripe for student imagination.

New to the Poetry of Seeing?

Are you a parent living in southern New Jersey just over the bridges from Philadelphia? Nurture the artist you have at home! Have your child study with me. I offer Art Camps, classes and private lessons that are child-centered but also rigorous; a perfect balance!

Not sure art lessons are right your child? Read my art lesson Q&A just for parents!

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