Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: Discuss-sudbury-model digest, Vol 1 #157 - 7 msgs

From: Kristina <>
Date: Sat Apr 17 09:32:00 2004

On 4/15/04 6:37 PM, "wmvh" <> wrote:

> I understand your predicament Myra. I am also 49, just beginning a life long
> dream to be an art teacher. (excuse that term). And I will be working in a
> public middle school. I have been working there the last 2 years as an AIde
> and often find myself slipping into a role that I do not like.
> I feel a little stuck, not having a democratic school nearby, and not having
> the money or energy to start a new one. I believe that I can do SOME good,
> just by talking and listening to my students honestly. There is a little more
> freedom in art classes though the requirements of the school do put a lot of
> restrictions on activities.
> I am hoping that I can create a personal relationship with my students that
> somehow overshadows the institutional one that is forced on us. I do not know
> if it is possible. I know that I have to keep a close check on myself to avoid
> playing the role.

Hi William,

I am an artist and an art teacher for the past sixteen years to grades 4-8,
even a little primary, in a rural Ontario public elementary school, (it was
a second career and I am 53), and I can assure you that it is *not*
possible. The personal relationship part, well that happens wherever you
are, thank heavens, and you will impact on the people around you with your
own gifts; there are rewards with individual students and events, wonderful
people; but, it does not overshadow the institutional issues of coercion,
(and even though art is an amazing subject, there are students in my art
classes who would rather be doing other things) curriculum needs and the
structure that imposes, assessment and evaluation and the associated
baggage, thirty-two kids in a small box, bells every so many minutes,
washroom passes, no hats, no gum chewing, crowd control. The needs of the
institution override personal needs daily, hourly, by the minute, and there
is little or no freedom... If you take on the role of public school
teacher, you are indeed expected to meet the requirements of the job, and
that will require you to "play the role," or not do what you are being paid
to do and your performance will be unsatisfactory to your employer.

I have accepted that where I work is far from ideal. There is a better way
to learn and I see the Sudbury model as the choice. For me, practically at
this time and in this location, it is not an option. Some days I enjoy my
job quite a lot. There are bright lights anywhere you are if you look and
see them. Other days it is quite a struggle to function in the system, to
watch children who can't fit there flail about, listen to teachers who are
fighting battles they won't win, and to feel that it could be different. I
have stopped trying to change it. The public system is what it is. I do my
best where I am. Congratulations to those of you out there who are making
Sudbury models work, who have the opportunity to experience the freedom with
the kids. Each successful school opens the door for another one. It must be
an amazing thing! I have really enjoyed following this discussion and wish
you all well!

Warm regards,
Received on Sat Apr 17 2004 - 09:31:02 EDT

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