SchoolArts Magazine

October 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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would you like to be consulted about discipline issues in the artroom?" His or her answer will relieve you of anxiety and guesswork. Be Proactive and Reactive This brings me to another lesson from Rabbi Dear. He taught me the distinction between proactive and reactive discipline. Proactive discipline is what you do before your students have a chance to misbehave. You know your students, so before each class, ask yourself "What is going to go wrong with this lesson? Who is going to interrupt? Which kid is going to make which kid cry?" As you answer these questions, adjust your CONTINUED ON PAGE 58. I am not an expert on this subject. I have struggled with discipline in the artroom just like you certainly have. I have literally shed tears. After more than a decade though, I have earned some wisdom worth sharing. Discipline Issues Are Normal First, consider this: Discipline issues are normal. A rowdy class or a mis- behaving child does not represent your failure as a teacher. Kids are kids. They have feelings. They have problems. They test limits. It's our job to provide a safe place where they can process those experiences and learn discipline. And, yes, discipline is more important than our awesome art projects. Kids can't learn without it. As much as I love my students, it was an epiphany when I realized that they would all be disciplined by someone. If their parents don't do it, and I don't do it, then eventually the police might be the ones who have to do it. If you discipline your students kindly and consistently, you are loving them more effec - tively than harsh words ever will. Similarly, we must command our classes. When I shirk my authority, students look to each other to set the tone of the class. Be the leader that your students need. My headmaster calls this a "benevolent dictatorship." I can't help but think of it as "What would Daenerys Targaryen do?" Work with Your Administrators I am lucky to have a fantastic head- master, Rabbi Moshe Dear. He met with me to review my previous dis- cipline practices and develop new ones. He continues to coach me as I improve. This article might as well be a synopsis of our productive meetings. This raises a vital point about classroom discipline: Communicate with your administrators. It's impor- tant to remember that our bosses a re people too. It isn't fair of us to expect them to drop everything. One principal made this fact plain to me. During my orientation, she told me frankly that she puts out fires all day long. My job was to make her job as easy as possible. "Any discipline problem that I become aware of," she told me, "represents your failure as a teacher." Needless to say, I was ter - rified to confide in her and turned to my fellow teachers for support. In contrast, another supervisor went out of her way to tell me that she wanted me to enjoy teaching: "If there is anything I can do to help, let me know." Both of these women told me what they expected and taught me that clear communica - tion is vital. If you don't have an administrator who knows what he or she wants, take the initiative in this conversation. Ask, "At what point Discipline Doesn't Have to be Scar (part 1) Rama Hughes If ou discipline our students kindl nd consistentl ou are loving them more effectivel than harsh words ever will. M A N A G I N G T H E A R T R O O M SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 15 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15. lesson accordingly. Move seats. Reorganize supplies. Occupy interrupters with a special task. Prevent issues by anticipating them. You can't anticipate everything, of course. A big part of proactive discipline is planning your reactive discipline in advance. Reactive discipline is what you do when your students misbehave. Write down your answers to these questions: What are the rules of the artroom? What will I do if someone breaks those rules? What will I do if that student continues to break the rules? What will I do if multiple students break the rules? Different schools have different rules. Different teach- ers have different styles. You'll have to develop your own procedures that work for you. To help you get started, I'll share my own class procedures with you next month. Rama Hughes is an art teacher at Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles, California, and a contributing editor for SchoolArts. rama@ SCHOOLARTS IS LOOKING FOR YOU We are looking for lessons and articles that focus on: • media arts and technology • contemporary art and artists • STEAM • interdisciplinary connections and more! To get started, visit Are you experimenting with new ideas and approaches in your K–12 classroom? Get published with SchoolArts and share your lessons with thousands of art educators! to share the exciting, innovative things happening in your artroom! 58 OCTOBER 2018 SchoolArts

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