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A Rock & A Hard Place


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#1 Logan

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 12:52 PM

Hey There Gang,
You are not going to believe the challenge that walked into my store. A gal that is just about to get her online degree to teach walked into my studio saying she wanted to learn to throw.
So I told her sure, let's get you signed up so she paid her fee & when she came by for her first lesson she dropped her bombshell on me. She has an interview with a local high school in ONE MONTH to be the ceramics teacher. No, I'm not joking. Her only choice for learning anything in this town is me or books. After telling her the harsh truth that what she's asking for is just not possible and some of the reasons why. I told her I could help instruct her in some basic aspects of studio safety & some slightly more advanced "arts & crafts" type of projects but there would be no way she would be qualified to "teach ceramics" at any level. I told her I didn't want to discourage her but I had to tell her the truth so she knew where she stood. I also told her my help was no substitute for 4-6 years of serious ceramic education.
So I'll do all I can to stress safety in the studio & with the kilns, some clay basics
( wedging , various ways of putting two pieces of clay together & basic hand building projects, glazes.) and beginning throwing if there's time. What really bugs me is that I'll be helping an unqualified person get a ceramics teaching job but if I don't help her I'm turning loose a potentially bigger train wreck on the kids , the school & the community Uuuuug! Talk about a rock & a hard place ! I would be grateful for any & all comments/ suggestions anyone wanted to share.
Thanks !
Logan

#2 GEP

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:12 AM

Logan,

I find her story hard to believe. Art teacher jobs are scarce even when the economy is good. And that she could get an interview with just an online degree doesn't add up.

And most of all, I've never heard of a HIGH SCHOOL CERAMICS TEACHER! As far as I know, there are only high school ART TEACHERS who need to teach a lot of mediums including ceramics.

She might possibly be full of it. Or there is a failure to communicate somewhere in the story.

I think everything you told her was correct, and beyond that it is not your responsibility whether she succeeds or fails.

If you think it's appropriate, I think you should post the name of the school and the school district here, so that legitimate but currently unemployed art teachers can apply for the job too.

-Mea
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#3 JBaymore

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:34 AM

And most of all, I've never heard of a HIGH SCHOOL CERAMICS TEACHER! As far as I know, there are only high school ART TEACHERS who need to teach a lot of mediums including ceramics.


I know of many high school ceramics teachers. They exist.

Unqualified teachers are hired every day in every discipline. When the pay for a job is low and the working situation is poor....... unqualified folks often are THE choice for the positions. The qualified people don't want it. So I don't think it is all that far-fetched.

In some locales art teacher positions in primary and secondary education are actually somewhat readily available.

The SAD thing here is the kids that will get their introduction to clay from this person.

It is possible that this individual has LIED to the school's administration about his / her experiences with ceramics in order to get the job. THAT crap happens every day in every field too.

Tough call about what to DO about it.

best,

..................john
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Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#4 Stephen Robison

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:42 AM


And most of all, I've never heard of a HIGH SCHOOL CERAMICS TEACHER! As far as I know, there are only high school ART TEACHERS who need to teach a lot of mediums including ceramics.


I know of many high school ceramics teachers. They exist.

Unqualified teachers are hired every day in every discipline. When the pay for a job is low and the working situation is poor....... unqualified folks often are THE choice for the positions. The qualified people don't want it. So I don't think it is all that far-fetched.

In some locales art teacher positions in primary and secondary education are actually somewhat readily available.

The SAD thing here is the kids that will get their introduction to clay from this person.

It is possible that this individual has LIED to the school's administration about his / her experiences with ceramics in order to get the job. THAT crap happens every day in every field too.

Tough call about what to DO about it.

best,

..................john




John is dead on right and this is maybe a time for you to talk to the principle at the school and find out if she did lie.


STEPHEN ROBISON
Head of Ceramics, Central Washington University
Ellensburg WA

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#5 GEP

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:27 AM

John wrote:
"I know of many high school ceramics teachers. They exist."


I stand corrected ... sorry!




John wrote:
"Unqualified teachers are hired every day in every discipline. When the pay for a job is low and the working situation is poor....... unqualified folks often are THE choice for the positions. The qualified people don't want it. So I don't think it is all that far-fetched."

If this is the situation for Logan and her student, then the shortcomings fall solely on the school. Not the unqualified teacher they're trying to hire. And if all they want is a glorified babysitter, I think the unqualified ceramics teacher and her students will be fine. Logan should focus on teaching her how NOT to burn down the school.

But I don't think we have enough information to conclude that the school is looking for the cheapest and least-qualified teacher. There are lots of gaps in the story that don't quite make sense. I still think it's most likely that Logan's student is being dishonest, either to Logan or to the school.

-Mea
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#6 rae

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:31 AM

Hey There Gang,
You are not going to believe the challenge that walked into my store. A gal that is just about to get her online degree to teach walked into my studio saying she wanted to learn to throw.
So I told her sure, let's get you signed up so she paid her fee & when she came by for her first lesson she dropped her bombshell on me. She has an interview with a local high school in ONE MONTH to be the ceramics teacher. No, I'm not joking. Her only choice for learning anything in this town is me or books. After telling her the harsh truth that what she's asking for is just not possible and some of the reasons why. I told her I could help instruct her in some basic aspects of studio safety & some slightly more advanced "arts & crafts" type of projects but there would be no way she would be qualified to "teach ceramics" at any level. I told her I didn't want to discourage her but I had to tell her the truth so she knew where she stood. I also told her my help was no substitute for 4-6 years of serious ceramic education.
So I'll do all I can to stress safety in the studio & with the kilns, some clay basics
( wedging , various ways of putting two pieces of clay together & basic hand building projects, glazes.) and beginning throwing if there's time. What really bugs me is that I'll be helping an unqualified person get a ceramics teaching job but if I don't help her I'm turning loose a potentially bigger train wreck on the kids , the school & the community Uuuuug! Talk about a rock & a hard place ! I would be grateful for any & all comments/ suggestions anyone wanted to share.
Thanks !
Logan



#7 rae

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:33 AM

How sad, I have my MFA, have been teaching at a major university for 8 years, can't find a job anywhere, and have actually been refused by high schools. Besides, I love to teach.

#8 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:01 PM

How sad, I have my MFA, have been teaching at a major university for 8 years, can't find a job anywhere, and have actually been refused by high schools. Besides, I love to teach.

That is sad. Sorry to hear it especially connected to this thread.
Marcia



#9 pent19

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 06:50 PM

As a public school teacher this completely frustrates me. I have been trained in ceramics, printmaking, painting and art history and needed two degrees and 2 semesters of student teaching to get interviews. I was forunate enough to get a job-but with this economy it has been a rollercoaster ride of whether i will be back each year. She could be in a school that no one wants a job at or an equal oppurtunity hire (which we had a very underqualified art teacher get employed in our district-majored in photography but teaches elementary art where you can't do photography ) regardless she is unqualified for ceramics, but maybe would be better in another area.

So, I would teach her what she has paid for. Her training(online art degree, how does that work?) should get her through her first year of teaching. I would figure out where she is employed and contact them because not knowing how to run a ceramic studio can be dangerous for the students and school (kiln malfunctioning, purchasing materials that are not safe, safety hazards with reusing clay, etc). If she needs this training she should either give you more money for the training or find college to take some classes at.

The only thing that could save this ceramic program is the fact that there are probably other art teachers who teach drawing/painting that will recognize what a mess this teacher is.

its your call-however i would consider how much her business is worth and if you want emergency calls from her throughout the year.



#10 OOF!

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 03:32 PM

Wow.
"Bye!"
-OOF!

#11 meisie

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:19 AM

In my school system we actually do have a high school ceramics teacher in that his specialty is ceramics but he also teaching painting. We also have a graphic design teacher and a studio teacher so it's possible I suppose. But if the school is hiring someone for art with an online degree that sounds rather odd. I had to show a portfolio for my job. I would assume she's going to have to show ceramic pieces she's made? If the school takes someone with an online degree and no examples of work they are really getting what they ask for.

Logan,

I find her story hard to believe. Art teacher jobs are scarce even when the economy is good. And that she could get an interview with just an online degree doesn't add up.

And most of all, I've never heard of a HIGH SCHOOL CERAMICS TEACHER! As far as I know, there are only high school ART TEACHERS who need to teach a lot of mediums including ceramics.

She might possibly be full of it. Or there is a failure to communicate somewhere in the story.

I think everything you told her was correct, and beyond that it is not your responsibility whether she succeeds or fails.

If you think it's appropriate, I think you should post the name of the school and the school district here, so that legitimate but currently unemployed art teachers can apply for the job too.

-Mea



#12 Pres

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 01:26 PM

In my school system we actually do have a high school ceramics teacher in that his specialty is ceramics but he also teaching painting. We also have a graphic design teacher and a studio teacher so it's possible I suppose. But if the school is hiring someone for art with an online degree that sounds rather odd. I had to show a portfolio for my job. I would assume she's going to have to show ceramic pieces she's made? If the school takes someone with an online degree and no examples of work they are really getting what they ask for.


Logan,

I find her story hard to believe. Art teacher jobs are scarce even when the economy is good. And that she could get an interview with just an online degree doesn't add up.

And most of all, I've never heard of a HIGH SCHOOL CERAMICS TEACHER! As far as I know, there are only high school ART TEACHERS who need to teach a lot of mediums including ceramics.

She might possibly be full of it. Or there is a failure to communicate somewhere in the story.

I think everything you told her was correct, and beyond that it is not your responsibility whether she succeeds or fails.

If you think it's appropriate, I think you should post the name of the school and the school district here, so that legitimate but currently unemployed art teachers can apply for the job too.

-Mea

I was a high school art teacher for 36 years. I became the Ceramics teacher at the school because of my interest in Ceramics. I never had an MFA, in ceramics, but worked my but off in several post grad courses, and did shows for about 10 years in PA with my pottery. I still work in the shop now that I am retired, and sell enough to keep my hobby supported. Anymore I make pots I am interested in making. I have taught adult classes at the HS along with the student classes. The tuition for the adult classes was put into an account to upgrade the studio. I added 4 wheels on my own that way along with shelving and workbenches, a new Bailey extruder, and repaired much of the equipment with funds from the adult classes. In the end it was a great studio, and the students did well, some going on to college work in ceramics.

I also taught computer animation at the school, and sections of Art 1. I was an art teacher, but the Ceramics teacher!

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/





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