So I did my Elementary School visit Friday, October 4th. I spoke a bit about the experience in class, but I'll recap here.
I went to Whiteside Elementary, and sat in on Dawn Green's three morning classes; Fifth and Second grade, and Kindergarten. I originally was going to just observe, not wanting to disturb her class or make her uncomfortable, but that's not how that ended up. By maybe fifteen minutes into the first class I was helping kids with how to draw bows and ribbon, luckily Dawn seemed to have no issue with it, maybe was a little thankful for the second set of hands, so I ran with it. I helped her distribute and collect supplies and artwork, and helped the kids if they had any questions, or just wanted to show off their beautiful work. They were working on their Christmas Card projects and were working on the steps on being able to finish the cards, whether that was drawing, painting, or cutting out collage paper.
I really liked working with the kids, but kind of re-realized that Elementary is not what I need to teach, because as much as I love children, I don't love the way we teach children's art. The children are only given one, fifty minute class of art per week, that includes getting children to settle down, remind them of what they need to work on, and then distributing what they need, before they can even get to work! Not to mention that in one class a teacher kept pulling her students out to test for her! In my opinion that was ridiculous and rude; these children get one window per week to be in this class, and you think that your poor time-management should get in the way of being taught constructive creativity by someone who actually knows what they're doing? No, that's completely unacceptable.
Even if it weren't for all of that, I have an issue with the way they teach these children; they're told in an art class to replicate a project, to draw this bow, to paint this snowman, to collage this tree. I get why they use that approach to children's art, but asking children to suppress the creative urge and to seek approval from replication is something that just doesn't sit right with me.