Thursday, October 11, 2012

Perks of Live Instruction Time

This year, as with every year there were changes made to the structure of our office hours as high school teachers. While last year I spent about two hours a week in live instruction, this year I spend about five. One day a week I go over the weekly lesson and project and another day a week I offer an informal art critique for students to attend. Last year I did occasional art critiques with my students but not weekly. I have always been able to help foster discussion in these critiques but this year I am noticing students develop into a tight-knit community quickly and they have surpassed the stage of only making positive comments about each other’s work. Now, they also give suggestions to improve a piece of art, something they had previously not done on their own. The big change this year was going from one hour a week for homework help time to three. Three days of the week, I spend an hour each time with my live classroom open for students to “walk in” and get any questions answered. At first, I was skeptical about how many students would attend or how useful it would be and I have been pleasantly surprised. Last year I had one day a week students could attend to get help with their work and rarely had any students attend. With three guaranteed days a week it seems students are able to find time to attend. I am finding that students without working phones or who might be too shy to call me back are not reluctant to come to a live lesson. Today I worked with a student with special needs to get caught up on some missing projects. I reviewed the examples, instructions, and demonstrated some of the techniques we were learning while he drew them on his paper. These opportunities are difficult to have during a lesson day when I have many students attending but they work well in the smaller homework help time. This student was able to correctly complete a drawing using linear perspective and has been using these days to receive one-on-one help from me. I am making a concentrated effort this year to really slow down and get to know each student and I feel I am starting to be successful in this.

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