My time with Community-Word Project's Teaching Artist Training & Internship Program (TATIP) has been a memorable experience thus far. I conducted my first lesson with my 4th grade class. It felt amazing! I really liked the preparation process of creating outlines and worksheets for my lesson. My mentors, Mary Cinadr and T. Scott Lilly were there to assist me during the prep and in my class presentation. I was well prepared and excited to get my students to draw unique images and write poems -which would later be presented in their class anthology!
Throughout our TATIP training, debrief sessions have been held. We have had group debriefings and one-on-one sessions. I like our group debriefings because they feel like we are a family reflecting and reconnecting after a long day. Since my fellow trainees and I are all interning with different schools, it is very interesting to hear their updates. I am interning with a 4th grade class, so to hear how trainees are handling high school internships is very insightful.
We must participate in elective seminars throughout our training. I really enjoy the elective seminars. The seminars get your creative juices flowing. They open your mind to different ways that you can enhance your lesson plans. These sessions introduce you to different art organizations and provides you with insight into their unique lesson plans.
I attended a seminar called “Teaching for After School” hosted by Wingspan Arts. They took us through several interactive activities - from getting up and dancing, to participating in a quiet story time session. We had a discussion that focused on some similarities and differences between an "in-class" teaching artist vs teaching art in an after school setting. In an “in-class” residency, the teaching artist presents their plan to a class of students who already know one another. When teaching at an after school program, a teaching artist may have to present to a mix of students from different schools. These students may not have known each other prior. A good technique is to start your sessions with several ice breaker activities to get the students acquainted with one another.
During a seminar called “Teaching for Social Justice," hosted by Patti Chilsen and Karla Robinson, we learned all about different activities related to the theme of social justice. We talked about how visual artists, poets, musicians and historical figures expressed themselves to describe the injustices of their time. We learned that, if you want to delve into this theme with your students, it is essential to provide a safe environment in which they can openly express how they feel and what they think. During the main activity, I performed a poetry sketch with two other trainees, and I had a great time!
I participated in a seminar with an organization called City Lore. They hire teaching artists across all art forms; poetry, music, dance, etc. Their session was from a segment of their program called Roots, Routes & Rhythms. The teaching artists gave wonderful presentations, fully engaging each of us into each art form. I was playing the drums, dancing to percussion instruments and participating in a poetry writing activity. I learned of Ghazal, a poetry form, for the first time! I was so intrigued that I started writing some lines to create my own Ghazal on the train ride home! I learned how you can incorporate many different art forms into your lesson plans and give the students a well rounded art experience.