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Casey N.

Smith

ARE6933: Art Ed Beyond School Walls

Final Proposal

Fall 2017

10/13/2017

Art Educator Central

Introduction

One of the biggest issues in education today is teacher burnout. In 2016, NPR news

reported that 8% of teachers leave the field each year, 40-50% of teachers leave within the first

five years, and there is a 50% turn over every seven years. These numbers document educators in

all subjects but art teachers are included those statistics. Art teachers are experiencing burnout

just like core curriculum teachers do.

Teacher burnout can be caused by many different factors such as emotional exhaustion,

depersonalization and personal accomplishment (Grayson & Alvarez, 2007). Lawton (2016) also

explains that the attitudes towards art teachers can be a cause of burnout. Many teachers are the

victims of the commonly held notion that “Those who can’t do, teach” (Lawton, 2016, p. 59).

This can leave teachers feeling isolated even in their own school. Lawton continues this notion

with the explanation that many people are judging educators based of the type of degree that they

hold. Whether an individual has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree or a Bachelor of Arts degree

makes a difference in what people think the individual is capable of accomplishing. These pre-

conceived opinions concerning degrees could partially come about due to the lack of preparation

that is being offered in art education programs. Carroll (2011) notes in her research that not

much has changed in teacher education programs between 1997 – 2009. She researched many art
education programs and found that most of them were lacking in one of the three areas, art

history, contemporary art, and global diversity. Carroll also makes the connection that teachers

will ultimately teach art the way that they had been taught. Due to this domino effect, how can

we expect our school systems to improve if the education that the teachers receive does not

improve?

Time pressure and self-efficacy can also play into teacher burnout (Skaalvik & Skaalvik,

2017). Skaalvik and Skaalvik (2017) discovered through their research that teachers in

performance goal structured schools, which make up the majority of schools in the United States,

experience a higher rate of high stress and motivation to leave their job. This explains the high

turnover rate in education that NPR news reported. The cause of teacher burnout is different for

each teacher that experiences it. As an aspiring art teacher myself, teacher burnout is something I

am very concerned with. Therefore, I decided to do my own research into the matter. Through

my research and personal experiences with art educators, I have found art educator burnout to be

very prevalent in today’s school systems. I have had personal conversations with my own former

art teachers, as well as individuals in the University of Florida Graduate program that are

currently teaching art. During my research, I came across Wiseman’s project proposal, “Proposal

for Summer Studio for Art Teachers at the Knoxville Museum of Art”. Wiseman, like myself,

found teacher burnout to be an alarming problem. Through her investigation into burnout,

Wiseman found that teachers were often too wrapped up in being a teacher that they did not have

time to be artists. She was inspired to create a summer studio program that gave art educators a

chance to create and be artists, which they felt like they were lacking in their personal lives.

Wiseman’s project led to my inspiration of Art Educator Central, a program which would help

break the “burnout/I’m all alone in this” mentality that many educators have concerning their
teaching and time spent in the classroom. In 1998, Byrne recognized the looming problem of

teacher burnout and gave several suggestions towards solving it; stress reduction workshops,

teacher support groups, scheduled leisure time, and workshops dealing with students and

curriculum. I believe that through the program I am proposing teachers can take Byrne’s

suggestions and make them real learning experiences.

Program Description

I am proposing the opening of Art Educator Central, a program that would provide art

teachers opportunities to share projects, issues, and obtain professional development skills. The

mission of Art Educator Central would be to encourage art educators and boost the advancement

of art education in the local school systems. This would be done through multiple workshops,

classes, and discussion groups. Workshops would consist of a grant-writing workshop,

curriculum integration workshop, professional development workshop, and afterschool

programming workshop. I believe these four workshops would meet the current needs of art

teachers as I see them. Workshops would take place on a monthly basis at various locations

around the Charleston area. Prospective locations would be schools where participating teachers

are from, College of Charleston, Fabulon, community centers, and libraries.

The project sharing classes and discussion classes would be held on a bi-weekly

schedule. Art teachers in the Charleston area would be the ones conducting the project sharing

classes. They would submit a project that they have found successful in their own class that they

wish to share with others. Each class would be completely different, as a different teacher would

be teaching each class. Another aspect to the project sharing classes would be to obtain the

opinion of other art teachers concerning a project. New big ideas, themes, artist’s examples, and

other suggestions could be added to the project. Roberts (2005) notes the importance of big ideas
in lessons and encouraging students to be creative in the art of making. These project-sharing

classes can help teachers that are struggling to evolve a lesson.

The issues discussed during the discussion classes would be prompted by submissions

made by the art teachers participating in the classes. One of the discussion classes would be

concerning why we become art teachers. Buffington, Williams, Ogier and Rouatt (2016)

conducted a case study of the paths that they took to become art educators. They grouped their

experiences into five areas; early experiences and family, school art experiences, mentors, young

adult experiences, and identity. They found that through discussing their personal paths to art

education they each realized how their excitement and ideals toward art education had changed

over time. I believe the reading and discussion of this article would be immensely constructive to

art teachers. It could help teachers navigate the reasons they decided to be an art teacher, how

those ideals concerning teaching have changed, and help bring excitement back into teaching art.

They would also be able to share their experiences with other art teachers that are experiencing a

similar disheartening towards teaching.

Credentials

As an aspiring art educator, it is very concerning the high rate of teacher burnout and the

lack of solutions for it. While I am not the most qualified to be conducting these workshops and

classes there are others in the community who are. The program will rely on the teachers in the

community to submit ideas for the Project Sharing classes and Discussion classes. Susan Irish,

owner of Fabulon, would be an excellent resource to collaborate with for the curriculum

integration workshop. Irish has a degree in Interior Design, Art Education, and Curriculum

Integration. I would also enlist the help of Susan Anderson, Assistant Vice President for

Research/ Director of Office of Research and Grants, at the College of Charleston. Anderson
conducts a grant-writing workshop at the College of Charleston. She could facilitate the grant-

writing workshop for Art Educator Central or she could help guide the workshop. Another

resource for the grant-writing workshop is the U.S. Department of Education website for Arts in

Education – Professional Development for Arts Educators. This site financially supports art

education programs. This will be a great resource to share with art teachers and make use of

during the workshop. Another website that could be valuable is the National Art Education

Association (NAEA) site Virtual Art Educators. The NAEA is currently the leading professional

membership organization for visual arts educators. Through their website, they provide webinars,

virtual conferences, sessions, recordings of national conventions, workshops and many more

professional development areas. This would be a great tool to share with other art educators, use

as a reference for planning workshops, or even attending workshops and webinars to improve the

Art Educator Central program itself.

In the Charleston area, there are fifty-four primary and elementary schools, nineteen

middle schools, and fifteen high schools. Not all of these schools have an art program or

designated art teacher, which would make the curriculum integration workshop even more

successful. It would provide an opportunity for schools without an art program to incorporate art

into core curriculum. There are also fourteen community art programs and several college

programs in the Charleston area that could be partnered with such as Fabulon, Redux

Contemporary Art Center, and The Studio Art Center.

The Brazos Valley Art Education Association in Texas is an organization that can be

referenced for how Art Educator Central could be structured. Their website lays out their mission

to raise the standard of art and art education in their community as well as promote the

professional and social relationships of the teachers. This is right on track with the program that I
am proposing. Using the Brazos Valley organization as a reference will be very valuable for

clearing up the structuring and logistics of the program. The Art of Education Professional

Development website can also be used as a resource for the professional development workshops

and discussion classes. The site provides information on advanced degrees, mentoring,

professional organizations, teacher evaluation, lesson plans, resources, revitalizing your passion

for teaching, and many more topics related to art education.

Funding

The majority of the funding for Art Educator Central would come from workshop fees.

The main expenses would be stipends for the individuals hosting workshops. This expense would

vary depending on the workshops being offered. Grants and donations are also a possibility once

the program is running. There are grants specifically for art programs listed on the South

Carolina Grant Watch website as well as the National Endowment for the Arts website. Once the

program is up and running writing a grant proposal for Art Educator Central would be a great

project for the teachers that are involved in the program to do as practice. Fundraising for Art

Educator Central could be possible after the program is established and has a strong engagement

from the local art teachers.

Conclusion

Dewhurst states that, “Community arts requires the active participation of multiple

stakeholders” (2012, p. 324). This is exactly what is required from the art teachers in the

Charleston area to make Art Educator Central a successful program. While I have been inspired

to propose this program, it will be the art teachers that will need to share their experiences and

work together to form a community. Art teachers are in desperate need of a sense of community

and a way to share their ideas and concerns about teaching art. They need a way to come
together to better themselves and the art education being taught in the Charleston school system.

The Art Educator Central program can do that.


References

Arts in Education – Professional Development for Arts Educators. U.S. Department of

Education. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/programs/artsedprofdev/index.html

Brazos Valley Art Education Association. (2015). Retrieved from

https://sites.google.com/site/bvaea14/

Buffington, M. Williams, A. Ogier, E. Rouatt, L. (2016). Telling our tales: Becoming art

educators. Studies in Art Education A Journal of Issues and Research. 57(4), 329-340.

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http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00393541.2016.1204524?needAccess=true

Byrne, J. (1998). Teacher as hunger artists: Burnout: Its causes, effects, and remedies.

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