This fall I’ve had two fabulous opportunities to run workshops for artists; in our sessions we’ve been working on building an understanding about what it means to write about teaching practice and how to get started. After three years of curating and editing ALT/space online (now with a new design and eminently more searchable) the collective “we” of ALT/space knows a thing or two about what this means. It means:
Write about where and how you make art with your students and all the small moments that go by so quickly that you sometimes miss them.
Write about the outside pressures and conflicts that surround your work.
Write about your successes, your disappointments, your challenges.
Don’t know where to start? Use the stories below to inspire you.
You could write about an event that happened in the past but stays with you to this day. That’s what Roger Whiting does in his story, “Are You Going to Pay Me?” Or, just like Anna Plemons does in her piece On Balance, write about something that just happened in your classroom that is still so strong and raw it still doesn’t yet have a resolution.
You could write about your absolute favorite lesson! For Sophie Johnson it’s an activity with only one rule. As kids collaborate to sculpt their class monster: “Everyone in [each] group must be actively working on the [given] body part at all times.”
Or, you could write about broader issues. Like Laura Reeder in Dear Maxine you could write about what you are doing to advocate for arts education; like J. E. Johnson in Deskilling the Arts you could speak out, think through, and tell a story about how things have changed both within and outside your teaching practice.
“But I’m not a writer!” you might reply.
Don’t let that stop you. If you have something to say, speak out. Tell your story. It doesn’t have to be long and you can use photos and videos to tell the parts that can’t always be translated into words.
And, don’t delay. Take a look around. Then get in touch and tell me about the kinds of stories you want to write. Because every artist’s teaching practice is different and unique and we need YOU to add YOUR voice to the mix.