Archive for the ‘assessment’ Category

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Calling All Teacher Leaders

April 26, 2017

Regional VPA Teacher Leader Search

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) – Phase VII

Join us for GREAT learning and networking opportunities! The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative invites YOU to be part of Phase VII. We are looking for teachers interested in leading and in taking a close look at effective teaching and learning in the arts.

Application at THIS LINK. Deadline: Friday, May 19, 2017.

Phase 1 Teacher Leaders, August 2011, Maine College of Art

If you are selected, you will be required to attend the summer institute, August 1, 2, and 3, 2017 at Thomas College. We will provide professional development and ask that you take what you’ve learned and share it with other educators in your region of Maine and beyond.

If interested, please submit a completed application by the Friday, May 19 deadline. Access the application by CLICKING HERE. Details are below.

Selected teacher leader responsibilities for the 2017-18 school year include:

  • Attend the 3-day Professional Development Summer Institute, August 1-3, 2017, Thomas College, Waterville. To prepare: Pre-reading assignments and responses are expected in google site. Each Teacher Leader determines individual plan for the school year/what the outcome of their learning will be and how to share with others. This enables teacher leaders to really take on the leadership role! (List of options available by contacting Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov)
  • Communicate using a google site
  • Possible Critical Friends Day as a follow-up to the summer institute
  • Continuation of Another Teacher’s Stories on the Maine Arts Ed blog
  • Attend retreat to reflect on the work of phase VII with MALI participants – Saturday, March 10, 2018

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Background Information

Overall Description 

Phase 2 Teacher Leaders, August 2012, Maine College of Art

Mission: Committed to the development of Teacher Leaders to ensure deep understanding and meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning and assessment in the Arts for all students.

Since 2011 the initiative has been building capacity by training arts educators on the “what” and “how” of arts assessment so they can provide the leadership in Maine through professional development opportunities. The details of the initiative are at https://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Programs/MAAI.

MALI’s OVERALL OBJECTIVES

  • Create and implement a statewide plan for teacher leadership in arts education. This includes professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and statewide, which will expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers to better prepare them to teach in a student-centered and proficiency-based learning environment.
  • Develop and implement standards-based high quality teaching and learning statewide for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Continue to build on expanding the team of arts educators and teaching artists representing all regions of Maine
  • Provide workshops and other professional development opportunities for educators

Phase 3, Critical Friends Day, 2013, Point Lookout, Northport

HISTORY – Phase I, II, III, IV, V, VI Summer 2011 to present

  • Eighty-one teacher leaders and four teaching artists leaders attended summer institutes on assessment, leadership, technology, creativity, proficiency-based standards-based and student-centered teaching and learning
  • Teacher leaders presented workshops at three statewide arts education conferences, USM, Portland, UMaine, Orono, and Point Lookout Conference Center with over 600 educators attending
  • Teacher leaders facilitated almost 100 regional workshops and 15 mega-regional sites across Maine
  • Another Arts Teacher’s Story series (78) on the Maine Arts Ed blog
  • Arts assessment graduate courses offered by New England Institute for
    Teacher Education
  • Nine arts education assessment webinars for Maine educators facilitated by Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring – archived at https://mainearts.maine.gov/pages/education/maai-webinararchives#
  • Video stories of seven teacher leaders that demonstrate a standards-based arts education classroom located on Maine ARTSEducation YouTube channel or at http://newenglandinstitute.org/.
  • Teacher Leader Resource Team development of items for resource bank
  • Maine Arts Assessment Resources website that contains a plethora of information

Phase 4, Summer Institute, 2014, USM Portland

Phase VII components

  • August 1, 2, 3, 2017: Professional Development Summer Institute for PK-12 teacher leaders (new and returning), teaching artists, and teaching artists leaders at Thomas College.
  • Each Teacher Leader determines individual plan to share their learning at the local, regional or statewide level.
  • Continuation of Another Teacher’s Story on the Maine Arts Ed blog
  • Winter Retreat: Saturday, March 10, 2018

For More Information

Phase 5, Critical Friends Day, 2015, USM Portland

Questions?

If you have questions or would like more information please contact Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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MALI Teaching Artist Story – Tim Christensen

April 25, 2017

MALI Teaching Artists series

This is the eighth blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) stories. And, this is the first one provided by a Teaching Artist Leader. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the Teaching Artists work.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 78 posted to date. Thank you Tim for sharing your story!

You can view his beautiful artwork at http://www.timchristensenporcelain.com/.

Tim Christensen works primarily in porcelain, with sgraffito. He has been teaching art and pottery since 2002. His favorite age group really depends on the project at hand, but generally, his favorite group is middle school. Tim loves collaborating with art teachers of any type, and enjoy the challenges and rewards of working in our public schools.

What do you like best about being a teaching artist?

I like that every day is a new day, with new kids and new challenges. I find that I can come into a classroom and work with the young artists unencumbered by any expectations on either of our parts. It allows the experience to be both fruitful and fun for everyone, and often can provide a new view on learning for both the teacher and student. I love helping students to discover their visual voice, and love inspiring them to say the things that they most need to say.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

Any endeavor must be challenging, engaging, and have clearly defined, achievable, parameters for success.

Have you found assessment to be helpful in your classes, workshops and residencies, and if so, how?

I very much like teaching in environments where assessments are used. I find that the students rely on rubrics, when available, as a basis I for formative self-assessment. I like that a rubric, used correctly, opens up a project for multiple pathways of showing success, and engages the students in customizing a project to best fit their interests.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

MALI has allowed me to learn about and discuss the latest ideas and science in education with the leaders in our field, and has given me a voice within my community. Before MALI, I didn’t know there even WAS a community.

What are you most proud of as an artist and/or a teaching artist?

As a TA, I am most proud of those moments where I see a student or teaching professional leap forward in their understanding of a student’s abilities and thoughts. As an artist, I am most proud of the hard work it has taken to develop my voice, AND develop an audience to hear it.

What gets in the way of doing a better job as a teaching artist?

There are only 24 hours in a day…..

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

My entire life as an artist is due to hard work and determination. I know that sounds glib, but it is true. In 2007, I moved to the woods in Maine with a tent, some skills, and a stack of lumber, and literally built my life from clay, dirt, wood, and sweat. Everything I have accomplished since then has come from that basis, and still is derived from those 4 assets.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a teaching artist or is just starting out?

Get out there and do it. Don’t wait for perfect conditions. Create acceptable conditions, and improve them as you can. Also, always assume that you are on the right path, and that there is a solution to every problem you encounter. Work every single day. Trust your thoughts and instincts, and work on ways of expressing those things that make it easier for others to understand you. Tell everyone who will listen about your ideas, and your passion. Lastly, if you don’t see a way forward, make one: not just for yourself, but to make the way easier for all those people who are not as confident of their feet as you are.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would be doing exactly what I am doing right now.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I do, but not around the way I have spent my time, only in paths not taken, or too soon abandoned.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Jean Phillips

April 11, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the seventh blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 77 posted to date. Thank you Jean for sharing your story!

Jean Phillips has been a teacher at Wiscasset Middle High School for fifteen years. Originally hired to teach English, but, in 2008, when the drama coach and director left, she picked up the three drama classes. In 2010, when the person hired to direct the One Act Festival play suddenly quit, the opportunity to direct came along. The following year, Jean was “hired” to teach three drama classes: Acting Workshop, Children’s Theatre, and Tech Theatre Design and to direct the two yearly productions. She has been doing both “jobs” ever since. Presently, Jean also teaches the 8th Grade drama component of their Allied Arts program. Her  yearly responsibilities include two public performances – one in the fall and the One Acts Festival piece – creating, building, or procuring all the sets, costumes, and props, as well as the maintenance, storage, and upkeep of the lights and the stage. She usually teaches nine to twelve 8th graders per quarter and 10-15 students per year in the Acting Workshop class per year; 8-12 students per year in the Children’s Theatre class; and 20 – 30 students per year in the Tech Theatre Design class. Jean’s Acting Workshop class involves teaching the terminology specific to theatre, stage positions and body positions – creating characters through analysis and fulfilling the performance standard by producing a public performance piece. Children’s Theatre begins with each student reading a children’s book, creating a story board for the book, a group decision of which play be the best to produce, writing a script, practicing together, and putting on a public performance – sometimes with children in the audience. Tech Theatre Design involves the technical aspects of theatre – specifically the design and construction off a set, sometimes the design of costumes, if time permits lighting and makeup.

What do you like best about being a theater educator?

My most favorite part of being a theatre teacher is watching students become hooked on working on the stage – either behind the scenes or as actors. I love that many disenfranchised students have found a home in theatre and even if they don’t pursue it any further than high school, they will have gained skills that will carry them throughout life.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

The three essential things to a successful performing arts education is full support by administration, parents, and state; less interference by outside agencies; and fewer budgetary constraints.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I am just beginning to utilize more formative assessment in the classroom. The public performance has always been the summative assessment, but I have found it important to the success of the summative assessment if more formative assessments are given.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

Before becoming involved in MALI, I taught my three classes and directed my plays. Now, I have never been as involved with professional development for the arts as I have this year. I have made more contacts and found advocates. I have also been able to engage more students in advocacy for the arts, too.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of two things: first, that I have been directly responsible for having students opt to become theatre arts majors in college; and two, that students who have not normally found a home in high school have found a safe haven on stage.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

For me there are two things that get in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as an educator: people who have no idea what happens on stage telling me how to do my job – the more constraints put on me by bureaucrats makes connecting with students harder because I’m spending more time with pointless paperwork than working directly with the students; and my own inhibitions. I am not a risk-taker and feel safer with the tried and true.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

My whole life has been about hard work and determination. I have major anxiety and live my life in stress. In spite of this, I have earned two BA’s and an MA – all because I do not believe in quitting. I broke my leg my third year of getting my MA and learned to drive with my left foot so I could continue going to class because I knew that if I took the rest of the semester off, I would never go back. I set my sights on a goal and just push forward since I’ve never been very lucky or relied on circumstances to get what I want.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Wow – I’d tell them there’s a fine line between keeping discipline and being a hard nose about following the rules. I’d tell them that there will be times when you won’t sleep because you’re worried, or you’re scared, or you’re frustrated, or you’re stuck – and all of those sleepless nights will be worth it when just one student comes back to thank you or remembers you fondly later in life. I’d say that no matter how much your budget gets cut just keep on keeping on. Arts education is important and students need this creative edge as well as a haven – be these things and more.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

If I had $500,000 I would build a separate arts facility for Wiscasset Middle High School – one with adequate space and light for the visual arts, a clean, soundproof room for band and chorus, and a dedicated space for the construction of sets, the construction and storage of costumes, and a place for all performances. If this isn’t feasible due to budget constraints, I would overhaul the stage lighting, build a space for the construction and storage of sets, maybe get more tools, and have someone come in and design a much cleaner, more organized space for the lights.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

Who doesn’t have regrets? I guess my biggest regret would be that I didn’t reach more students, especially since many of them shied away from my program because they were anxious about performing or because they were afraid of me because of what they had heard from other people. I hope to have worked on the latter before I’m 94.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Rick Osann

April 4, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the sixth blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 76 posted to date. Thank you Rick for sharing your story!

Rick Osann teaches grades 9-12, Theatre, Film & Video at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish. He has been teaching for 13 years, 11 at Bonny Eagle. His courses include Theatre 1 and 2, Stagecraft, Film History, and Video Production. The theatre classes are all experiential learning classes. In Theatre 1 students produce a children’s play that tours the elementary schools. In Theatre 2 students write their own play and perform at an evening at the high school. In Stagecraft students design and build the scenery for the main stage productions. The Stagecraft class has won a “Set Design Commendation” at the One Act Festival for the last several years! Rick has about 80 students per term between four classes.

In addition to classes, Rick serves as Drama Club and Thespian Society Advisor. Thespian Society is a dramatics honor society sponsored by Maine Educational Theatre Association. He directs two main stage productions per year, a full length play in the fall and a one act play in the winter, taking part in the Maine Drama Festival, and Rick serves as Producer for their spring musical. In addition, he  volunteers as State Chapter Director of the Maine Educational Theatre Association.

What do you like best about being a theater educator?

I often tell my friends I get to go to work and play every day. Now, this is not saying I don’t work hard. I spend more hours working and work harder each of those hours than I did before I was teaching. The difference is that I totally believe that what I am doing is important and meaningful. When I was in high school I was totally passionate about theatre and I love having the opportunity to share this passion with students. Theatre is a place to create magic- we bring into existence whole worlds out of our imagination, and then we invite the public to live in our world for a couple of hours. It is a life-changing experience to create a moment of extraordinary beauty on the stage!

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  • Be passionate- We need to be passionate about our art and believe it is the most important study that our students will experience in school. I often tell my students that our theatre class is the best place to learn the skills they will need to succeed in the modern world. We study and practice collaboration, creativity, communication- all the 21st century skills- and we do them with a strict deadline. Business leaders are recognizing this!
  • Love- We need to love our students and support their own passions. Sometimes this isn’t easy!
  • Learn- Keep learning something new every day.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

It is so important for students to understand what they are doing well and where they can improve. Traditional grading methods average out student strengths and weaknesses. Proficiently Based Education (PBE) identifies for the student each individual strength and weakness and how to improve.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

Getting a handle on PBE is challenging! Working with MALI has forced me and helped me to make my own assessment practices more genuine so they’re meaningful for my students.

What are you most proud of in your career?

We just won the Maine Drama Festival Class A State Championship!! This was pretty darn exciting. I am incredibly proud of how well my students worked together and supported each other to reach this goal. It was an honor to help these students grow and mature through their years in high school. A long time ago it was pretty spectacular working on the film, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”!

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

There is never enough time to do all the things we know we should do to help our students. I struggle to get my priorities straight to balance home, family, classes, theatre, and volunteer work. There are so many important things we can do to help our students and sometimes I worry I’m not doing any of them well enough.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I still consider my first teaching job to be my greatest moment of “luck”. Sylvia Pease, Superintendent of SAD #55, will always be my angel for hiring an inexperienced teacher and giving me this chance. I would like to think she recognized in all of my “non-teaching experiences” something that might be of value to students.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Believe in what you do and the importance of every moment you share with your students. You are making a difference in many lives. Be confident that what you do and say MATTERS, even when it looks otherwise.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

Create more opportunities that would encourage students to get involved in theatre. Open a theatre somewhere? We went to London over February break and saw that the upcoming London production of “Hamilton” is enabling them to renovate and open a theatre that has been closed for over 50 years. Awesome!

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

When I was fresh out of graduate school, my wife encouraged me to try teaching public school. I thought it was crazy, when my degree qualified me to teach at the college level, that I would need to go back to school to teach at the high school level. What a fool I was! When I finally took the education classes after about 30 years in various careers, I realized how helpful and important they were. I don’t regret my other careers and learned a tremendous amount from the experiences, but I wish I had listened to my wife and started teaching sooner. The past 13 years have been my very best!

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MCL National Summit

April 1, 2017

July 16-18, 2017 – Portland

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Empowering the Customized Learning Community

July 16 – 18, Holiday Inn, Portland, Maine

Register Here
inevitable-too-207x300Please join us as educators from across the country meet to learn, share, and problem solve how they are transforming their learning communities to provide the “Ideal Learning Experience” for all learners.  Based on the vision described in “Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning: Learning in the Age of Empowerment” written by Chuck Schwahn and Bea McGarvey, educators in our National Alliance are identifying the school structures that need to change in order to customize the learning experience for all learners.

Our National Summit will highlight the work of learners, facilitators and leaders who have been designing and transforming their learning communities. We will engage and leverage the experiences of our summit participants in a variety of learning experiences that will help support all levels of implementation. Summit participants will expand their knowledge, strategies, processes, resources, tools and professional network.

Our 2+ days will include:

  • Sunday Evening Dinner & Opening Session
  • Messages from Chuck Schwahn & Bea McGarvey
  • “Voices of Learners” Empowerment Sessions presented by Young Learners
  • 30+ Empowerment & Vendor Sessions including “Make & Take Sessions”
  • General Session Facilitated Conversations
  • A “Reflection Cafe”
  • Monday Evening Lobster Bake

Registration Fees

inevitable-too-203x300Register here!

Early Bird Special: $350/person or $325/person for teams of 3 or more

After May 20th: $375/person or $350/person for teams of 3 or more

The registration fee includes dinner on Sunday night, continental breakfast, luncheon, and afternoon refreshments on Monday and Tuesday as well as a Lobster Bake on Monday evening. Schools and other education organizations are encouraged to bring teams and make their participation a collaborative experience.

Lodging

A limited number of rooms are being held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay (http://www.innbythebay.com/), until June 16, 2017

Call 1-800-345-5050 or 1-207-775-2311 and mention the MCL Summit to get the summit rate. Room rates are: $210 for single or double occupancy (standard room with 2 double beds), $159 for single or double occupancy (Standard King Size Bed), $179 for Executive edition room (King or Double/Double).  Maine has a hotel tax of 9%.

Parking

All overnight rooms will be subject to a nightly fee of $10 if parking in the hotel garage area. Those traveling in for the summit must park in the multi-level garage beside the hotel and will be charged a discounted $5 daily parking fee.

Lobster Bake

(For the first 300 registered) Our Lobster Bake includes a ferry ride around Casco Bay and to Peak’s Island. Choice of Lobster (1 1/4 lbs), Grilled Sirloin Steak, Grilled Chicken, or Vegetarian (Stuffed Shells), steamed clams, drawn butter, clam broth, corn on the cob, coleslaw, boiled potato, rolls, coffee, tea, and fresh Maine blueberry cake. The Vegetarian meal includes a fresh garden salad, corn on the cob, coleslaw, boiled potato, and roll. Bar service is not included in your registration but will be offered on the island. Departure from the ferry terminal will be at 5:30 and will return around  9 p.m. (Please arrive at the ferry terminal by 5 p.m.)

If you have a family member or friend who will join you at the Lobster Bake, you must purchase their ticket when you register for the summit.

Registration Contact: Linda Laughlin lindaflaughlin@gmail.com

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Charles Michaud

March 28, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the fifth blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 75 posted to date. Thank you Charles for sharing your story!

Charles Michaud is the Pre-K – 12 music teacher at MSAD#33 in Frenchville and St. Agatha, MSAD#33 has a little less than 200 students and is located on the northern border of the state.  Charles teaches general music for grades Pre-K – 6, and offers band for students from grades 4 – 6.  This is his third year teaching at Wisdom Middle/High School and Dr. Levesque Elementary School.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

In my opinion, the best part of being a music educator are the moments when learners surprise themselves by playing or singing something impressive. They light up and gain a whole new confidence in themselves.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Accessibility: Learners need opportunities to access the arts. While this seems like common sense from an outsider’s perspective, we all know the challenges of fitting in the schedule.
  2. Customization: A program that adapts to the abilities of the students requires customizing lessons and materials to meet the learning styles and speeds of the learners. I think that the best way to draw students into the arts is to make the arts theirs.
  3. Appropriateness: Every arts program exists within the context of the community. Make sure the goals of the program not only provides access to the broader arts world, but also has deep roots in the musical culture of the area. Many programs try to adapt the local culture to fit their music, but I think a successful program draws the community in by drawing the local musical culture into the program.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment is a big cog in the learning machine. Assessment is communication about learning, and plays an essential role in my classroom.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

MALI has given me access to a community of arts educators on the cutting edge of their disciplines. Our collaborations and conversations have pushed me to innovate as an arts educator, which has been all to the benefit of my students.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The strength of community in my band is what has made me the most proud in my short career.  In the end, I find that what keeps students coming back year after year is that band is their home away from home.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

My biggest barrier to becoming a better teacher is a lack of time for developing all of the cool new lessons and methods that I would like to try. Imagine what a few solid weeks of straight lesson planning could do for a teacher!

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

Increasing the numbers in the music program has been my challenge since year one. I have been very successful in this regard, but it could easily be attributed to the great students that we have in our district.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Work hard and be innovative, because proficiency based education can present some very unique opportunities for the arts.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

If my program received 500k, I would create a position that bridges the gap from arts in school and arts in the community. This would connect my students with authentic learning experiences, and give them a model context for their role in the local arts scene.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I have a long road to travel before I hit 94, so I will almost inevitably regret something. For now, however, I am very content with the choices that I have made. Fingers crossed!

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Hilary Martin

March 21, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the fourth blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 74 posted to date. Thank you Hillary for sharing your story!

Hilary Martin is currently working as a grades K-8 ed. tech. at the Vassalboro Community School in AOS 92. Before this year, beginning in 2013, she worked as the K-12 theatre teacher at the Vinalhaven School, where she taught K-5 drama, high school public speaking, and middle and high school electives in acting, directing, playwriting, and technical theatre and design. While at Vinalhaven Hilary also directed after-school productions.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

Having the opportunity to help students be creators, and giving students who might not be highly successful in other classes a place where they can shine.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

Community support, investment from administrators and colleagues, and a passionate teacher.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment allows me to get a sense of what students have and haven’t mastered, so I know what curriculum areas to spend extra time on, and it allows me to give students useful, constructive feedback on their work.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative?

Being an arts educator can often feel very isolated–a lot of time you’re the only one in the building in your subject area, and being a theatre teacher even more so, as there aren’t that many of us in the state! Being involved with MALI has been a wonderful opportunity to network and share resources with other theatre teachers.

What are you most proud of in your career?

While at Vinalhaven, I began taking students to the Maine Drama Festival. Our first year attending we placed second at the regional competition, and the program has been successful enough to continue under the new Vinalhaven theatre teacher. I’m very proud of how I was able to expand the already very strong theatre program at Vinalhaven!

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Time, or the lack of it! With all of the responsibilities teachers have there is very little time for professional development, collaborating with colleagues, or even individual curriculum planning–all things that are crucial to being an effective educator.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to luck” or circumstances?

While on Vinalhaven, I had the opportunity to become a literacy interventionist, in addition to my work as the theatre teacher. This gave me a great opportunity to improve my skills as a teacher and get to know my students in a new way. While to some extent that opportunity was a result of being in the right place at the right time, it was also a result of my own hard work and commitment to continuing my education and training.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Know your limits, and don’t be afraid to say no to additional commitments. Arts educators tend to love what we do a great deal, and as a result it can be easy to overextend ourselves–I know I’ve found myself in positions where I took on more than I could reasonably handle! Remember to leave yourself space for rest and recovery.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would create a program to expand the number of in or after school theatre programs for elementary students. For many students, their first opportunity to participate in theatre comes in middle or high school, but elementary students can benefit just as much from being involved in theatre.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

It’s hard to say, but I hope that by the time I reach 94 I’ll have the perspective to look back on all the moments of my life as valuable learning experiences!

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