I have had the privilege of teaching art to a wide variety of students in a variety of communities ranging from suburban to rural areas. Moreover, my first professional teaching job was at an elementary school in an urban community. The art room serviced over 800 students from lower middle-class to low-class families in terms of their socioeconomic backgrounds. That first year was definitely challenging but, I grew tremendously as a teacher and really loved the students. Below I have listed the 3 C's for striving as an art educator in an urban setting. While these tips should be used in all classrooms, they are essential if you want to experience success in an urban classroom.
I know, compassion in teaching is a no brainer. Yet there are some teachers who are only teaching for the benefits (in some districts) and the vacation time. Compassion is a necessity in the urban classroom because many of the students are coming from unstable or dysfunctional environments. They are very intuitive and know whether are not you love them and what you do. If you do not love them, they will not respect or obey you.
The saying "Never let them see you sweat", definitely bears true in an urban classroom. You must be confident in your authority, knowledge of the content, and ability to present it. If you present a weak image, the students will use that as a method to try to intimidate you. Confidently convey the message to the students that it's your classroom and you are in control.
Okay, every art teacher should have this trait. In an urban classroom, creativity extends beyond the actual lessons. You have to find creative ways to diffuse conflict between students and make art relevant to them.
Feel free to share your ideas or comments below.
Art For The Creative Soul
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