I am finally getting into the groove with teaching art classes for the school year. I have noticed that at the beginning of the year my lesson plans were very detailed and outlined practically my every move. Now I am comfortable enough to approach my classes with more flexibility, and I have even improvised a couple of lessons by changing the subject matter at nearly the last minute before class.
One thing I am noticing in my short time of teaching is the value that is put on the art activities. With the younger children, much more value is given to their efforts. I say this because I have noticed that after most lessons, their art pieces are often carefully stacked and then later displayed on the walls for all to see.
However, with the older grades, after the lesson is over, the students' artwork is simply shoved aside, often placed under school books, in order to get ready for the next subject to be learned in class. Little value is given to their creative experience, by both the students and the teachers of the older grades. It is just another activity that they have to get through.
It is disappointing to me because my job is to help promote and encourage the arts in schools, and it seems to be make it an uphill battle when the teachers have little regard for the students' artistic efforts.
I think part of this attitude reflects our society's overall outlook on the arts. For some reason the arts are of little value in our society. They might be considered an enjoyable pastime for some, and after retirement it is a good way to stay active and keep the mind interested before one's twilight years. But the arts generally seem to have no practical value or application in our society.