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Dear DOE:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Please don't waste my time with a stupid mandatory workshop that has very little to do with my job description. I already include reading and writing in my art classes. Art also naturally includes math skills as well as what Social Studies teachers call history - we call in art history. So I really don't need to know how language is developed, nor how children develop a vocabulary. Yes, art has its own vocabulary. Yes, I include it. Yes, I repeat the words. Yes, I teach them, I use them, I model the use in a sentence, I repeat this over a period of time. I do all of that. So don't send me to a workshop to learn this.

Also, please ensure that the workshop presentor realizes that not everyone in the room is a reading or language arts teacher. Please ask him/her to use standard English, not technical terminology. If I don't understand the vocabulary of a vocabulary lesson, I will tune out. (Big surprise.)

It might have helped if you had suggested I attend Session I, rather than making it mandatory for me to attend Session IV. Sessions I through III might have led up to my understanding Session IV. Dropping me into Session IV did squat. Pluto. Tanked.

You might better serve me, and my students, if you held a workshop in my subject area. You haven't done this for 15-16 years. We art teachers have picked up the slack, created our own organization, have found funding and held workshops. But you could do this too. After all, it's your job. Our job is to teach our students, not to teach each other. We already scrounge and find grants and buy our own supplies - also your job. So if you want us to benefit from workshop days, you need to provide better workshops.

Last - it was a nice morning. I could have worked on the mural at school. You've seen it. You've admired it. So let me work on it. I'd have gotten some fresh air instead of sitting in a moldy conference room; I'd have gotten some exercise; and I'd have walked away with a sense of having accomplished something, instead of feeling as if that was a monumental waste of my time.

Most sincerely,

Art Teacher

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