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Welcome to the online magazine of the BC Art Teachers’ Association.

On this site, you will find resources for K-12 teachers that align with the new Arts Education curricula for BC. Check out the Submissions page if you’re interested in contributing resources or lesson plans. To join our association and receive copies of our print publications , visit our main website. We also have an annual conference each year.

Reflections

As a full-time working teacher, one rarely has time for reflection. As a retired teacher, I have had the time and luxury to give some thought to the highlights and best practices discovered through my career. I hope that by sharing a few of them here, they may be of benefit in some small way to your own classroom or program.

What I miss is the energy and enthusiasm of the students. There is nothing like it in any other job I can think of. The kids keep you, their teacher, young at heart and interested in life. They keep you honest and authentic in the ways you deal with them. They challenge any complacency you might have developed and keep you mentally alert and engaged. Kids will delight and frustrate you, sometimes both at the same time. But life as a teacher is never boring.

Collaboration with your colleagues provides many benefits for both teachers and students. Some of the most memorable projects have been done together with other teachers, especially those from other subject areas. For example, it has been profoundly satisfying to see an English grade 11 novel study done as a sculpture or another piece of artwork and to collaborate with that teacher on presentation and assessment. Sadly, the secondary school environment makes such collaborations difficult to achieve within the existing timetables and extra time and effort are often needed for such endeavours.

Sharing ideas with teachers from other schools and districts are valuable ways to spread one’s creativity and projects further than one’s own classroom. There is such a wealth of knowledge and expertise out there that can be of benefit to both teachers and students. This is where professional development and local specialist associations are of such value. We can always learn something new and exciting for our practice.

Initiating and engaging in community projects such as murals and installations are a lot of work but such projects can be integrated into the curriculum for your classes. Having students work with artists in the community fosters connections outside the classroom and raises awareness of the value of the visual arts to a larger audience. Students engaged in such community work feel proud of their efforts and the fact that their artwork is on the walls of a hospice or a daycare facility or seniors’ care home.

Looking back, I feel a profound sense of gratitude that I was able to be in a profession that while not easy, was rewarding. It gave me the opportunity to develop a sense of purpose and achievement in my working life that I look back on now with pleasure.

So, when the workload seems unending and the frustrations of the system insurmountable, remember sometimes to relax and enjoy those things you can……the kids, your colleagues, your creativity and your students’ achievement and a personal feeling of a job well done.

Melanie Stokes

Retired Rep – BCATA

The BCATA is a PSA of the BC Teachers’ Federation.