Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:59 PM
So this topic has risen again. Glad to see it, as I find it quite informative, and just all around fun.
I still can't wrap my head around teaching that many students in a ceramics class. Twenty seven students, was my max in my eight years of teaching, and luckily, it was full of really good students. In contrast, I had a class, with about ten less students, but there were several idiots, who made the class unpleasant. It was not a good combination of students. The majority were good, and I felt sorry that they had to be in the same class, as the few idiots. And the sad thing is, there wasn't much I could do. Separating them did no good, punishment from myself, or the administration, also didn't help. Even talking to parents didn't fix the problem. It's one of those classes, where you are glad to see it end. The funny thing is, one of the more vocal of that bunch, was set to take another class with me later in the year, he dropped it. Without his "buddies" he was nothing. I wish guidance had a filter on their scheduling program, that would keep certain students out of the same class. It would allow the teacher to actually, teach, instead of focusing on the same problem students everyday.
Now, a little bit more positive discussion. Pres, or anyone else, who would like to offer input, I am curious as to how you allotted wheel time to students, and to what you required of them on the wheel?
I've been more or less following the same set up/ requirements, I've been using since I started teaching. Here's what I have done:
My first teaching job, was on a block schedule (ninety minute classes, nine week long terms). Once we got rolling on the first couple hand built projects, I'd take four students at a time (we had four wheels) and they'd be required to work on the potter's wheel for half a class period, each day for a week. They were also required to make at least one project, that met my approval. If they made more than one, I graded their best. After a week was up, a new group would be on the wheel, and this went until towards the end of the term, when we were done with wet clay work. This set up, allowed me to introduce them to the wheel. I had a Ceramics II class, where they would have to make a matching set on the wheel.
In my second teaching job, I was on an eight period a day schedule. I kept the same basic set up, but since the class lasted a semester, I didn't assign students to the wheel, on a weekly schedule. They were just required to create a couple projects, that met my approval. I did require them to trim a foot, whereas I didn't at my first school. The reason? Time and the inclusion of a Griffin Grip at my second school. That just makes, teaching how to trim a bottom, much easier. I still show other techniques, but only required them to use the Grip. I had no Ceramics II class at that school, so I had to fit in as much as I could.
Now, I'm in my third job, which also runs on the block, Thank God! However, there actually was no focused Ceramics class, when I got here. I do believe there used to be, but that's when the department was larger. It used to be a two, or at least one and a half position program, but was dropped to one several years ago. So, when I got here, it was just a Three-Dimensional Art class. Some clay work was taught in it, but the rest of it was basic work with other materials, matte board, wire, and things, that bordered on "Crafty". So I said, "Enough of that" and made the class predominately clay work. We do some plaster work, after we are done with wet clay, but that's about it.
So, as with my first school, each student is on the wheel for about a week. We have five working wheels, with a sixth, that I am getting rid of. It's pretty beat, and takes up too much space. Right now, they only have to make one project, though the majority love, the variety of objects, throwing offers, and make more. Despite that, I'm thinking about changing my set up a bit.
I'm thinking about requiring three projects. The first, they are allowed a decent amount of help from me. For the other two, they are not. At least one must have a pulled handle, and at least one must have a trimmed foot (I'm looking into purchasing a Griffin Grip). Sadly, I do not have a second level, or advanced class for clay work. So much like my second school, I have to fit everything in.
I looked into creating a new pottery class, but there's no room in the schedule, and severe lack in the amount of me. So, that's not going to happen.
So what does everyone think? Any suggestions?
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"