“I don’t want to.”
“This is so difficult.”
“I don’t get it.”
“It doesn’t make sense.”
“Why do I have to?”
No, these aren’t the words of obstinate students. These are all things I’ve said over the last few weeks while trying to wrap my brain around the new standards based grading system the fine arts department in our county has implemented this year.
For real. This stuff is painful. We’ve switched from assigning two grades per student per quarter to assigning five. I think. I mean, I definitely have to give five grades per student per quarter, but I’m not quite clear on how many I need to give per project. Five? Twenty? Thirty-six? Each sample grade book we’ve been given access to says something different. Did I mention we’re talking K-6 here? Sigh
I’ve finally figured it out. I’ve finally figured out why, regardless of what school or what state I’m teaching in, I always have first graders in the afternoon. Apparently it’s universal, first grade teachers really value fresh air. I mean, think about it, what happens to first graders after lunch? That’s right. They fart. And really, aren’t first graders’ farts the worst in the world? First grade teachers pack their afternoons full of ways to preserve their air, much to the discomfort of the rest of us.
Who was the fool that spread the rumor that art teachers have neat handwriting? Thanks. Thanks for nothing, man. I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me, asking me to write something out because, I’m the art teacher so I must have neat handwriting. Well, I don’t. And even if I did, I don’t want to write out everybody’s thank you cards, certificates and posters. Thankyouverymuch.
On top of a new fine arts grading system, our county has also started a new progress report grading system. On top of the two new grading systems rolled out this year, our county has also instituted new teacher performance evaluations. It includes seven performance standards, one of which is student academic performance. That last one is weighted 40% and requires that we create a SMARTR (our county includes and extra ‘R’ at the end for “Rigorous”) goal. Art teachers aren’t exempt from this. So now I’m trying to figure out how to create a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound, and Rigorous goal to measure student progress in my art room. Thankyouverymuch.
I’ve been absent recently as I’ve been attempting to figure out how to fit the above changes into an art environment. Also, I’ve received some criticism recently via comments and emails, so I’ve stepped back a bit to reevaluate what I do here at ATHG. I hope to be back soon.