TEACHER EVALUATION ‘PILOT’ PROGRAM CHARTS NEW PATH?
I can appreciate the needs for teacher evaluations, but in my experience as a professional cartoonist, caricaturist, and cartoon animator–who also teaches– I have found that often the public schools and their first “evaluations” can actually be more inhibiting than useful or helpful.
In my art career, I had never been taught such ‘teaching skills, ‘ such as: “Do not try to teach any more than five minutes, because of the students’ limited attention spans.” “Be sure to be entertaining and sugar coat everything you teach.” “Do not try to discipline anyone, they get enough of that at home.” “Keep the students busy and give them a lot of ‘projects’ (even before I’ve taught them anything).”
This makes me thankful that I never went to school to learn how to be a teacher. I never knew any better, and so consequently, over the years, I have found much pleasure and great success in teaching people basic drawing skills and cartooning, –my way! (My way works!) I can teach almost anybody how to draw, and all the schools everywhere should teach it, the way I learned it, –from a Disney animator. Everyone should learn or know how to draw, in school, as a basic skill.
Now here is just one example of what I am talking about. Years back, I was hired to teach a summer class in a NJ public school on Drawing and Cartooning. This was for five days a week, 90 min. classes, for six whole weeks. I went into this thinking to myself: ‘Wow! –six whole weeks — with this amount of time I will really be able to teach these kids how to draw!’ (One prerequisite to being a cartoonist is knowing how to draw, (even if one does then later choose, out of their own creativity, to break some of the rules).
After the first class or two, I thought I was really on a roll, and everything was going great! Then astonishingly, one evening, I get a phone call at home. It was the school principle, and without first saying anything, he proceeded giving me “suggestions” on how to teach and “projects” that I might assign to the students. I could hardly believe what I was hearing, because the classes were going great and the students were really into what I was teaching them about drawing. I told him that I was flabbergasted about this, and that he should just have patience, –because I knew what I was doing! Before I would give them ‘projects,’ I needed to teach them how to draw, and how to cartoon. It turns out, that there had been an art teacher, or who knows who, planted in the classroom, who was secretly evaluating me, and who had turned in a bad evaluation on me.)
However; –just like I had told the school principle would happen– when ‘Open House’, at the end of the sessions came and the parents walked around the gymnasium looking at the great multitudes of terrific cartoons and drawings that covered the vast array of display boards, drawings and cartoons created by the class, drawings extraordinare, and from their own children’s imaginations, –the parents were amazed! Their children’s drawings clearly showed an advanced knowledge of drawing and cartooning skills well beyond their peers. These were the kind of drawings that win contests, and do because they stand out from all the rest. (I was told that one of my students, when I was teaching at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art, Dover, NJ, years ago, went on to become a big part in the looks and creation of Sponge Bob Square pants.)
Needless to say, I was called back again to teach the following summer, and even was offered a job to head up the art dept.. (or whatever, I don’t remember). But, what really made me smile –is when I asked what happened to the art teacher who had first evaluated me? The answer was, that she wasn’t there anymore, that she had gone back to school. lol 8<) –dc