New Art Teacher

Normal 0 0 1 571 3259 27 6 4002 11.1282 0 0 0 The great artists of the Renaissance never had to worry about their education. The filthy rich Medici family had more than enough dough to cover their artists’ salaries, provide some cozy quarters and maybe even an indoor toilet (a.k.a. a bucket). Unfortunately, however, without the Medici around to dish out money for art programs during a time of impending economic doom, some things just can’t afford to stick around. “[The Ames High Art Department had] 3 full time people and they cut it to 2.6,” art teacher Mrs. Quintero said. “Because of that, the high school position wasn’t a full time position for the third person. In the past, I taught elementary art at Edwards in the morning and high school art in the afternoon, and it equaled a fulltime job. [But] because of the [new] elementary schedule, the high school position couldn’t be combined with the elementary as it was in the past.” The full-time job priority was given to the teacher with the most seniority, which in this case was Mrs. Norris. She took the full-time job teaching elementary kids while Mrs. Jennifer Marksbury, who held the full-time position at Meeker last year, moved to a part-time position at the high school. Although it seems like a simple matter of switching jobs, 2 elementary and middle school art teachers still had to be cut in the process, and art students are feeling the blow. “Mrs. Marksbury’s not in school the whole day,” head of the art department, Mrs. Hassebrock said. “Kids can’t go to her for help or work on their projects during free periods. We had 3 full time positions…and at one point we even had 3.8, but now there’s just less teachers to go around.” With little time to reflect on the switch, Mrs. Marksbury has taken on the heavy load of teaching 3-D Art, Jewelry and Ceramics. It’s a bit of a change, from teaching 8 year olds how to make turkeys at Thanksgiving, to making individualized lesson plans for each class. “[For our first project] we had to use plastic Easter eggs to make something,” junior Reagan Turner said. “I made these glasses and I liked how they turned out. In the beginning I wanted to make binoculars but…[it didn’t really work]. I thought she was going to grade it really low but she gave me 23 out of 25, so I was really happy .” Even if the students can’t tell that Mrs. Marksbury has had little experience teaching a high school art course, she would hardly describe it as a walk in the park. “It’s a lot different.” Mrs. Marksbury said. “It’s really a change from the regimented schedule in elementary school. Now I have to write passes and do attendance and give letter grades. There’s a lot more responsibilities. I’m just trying to get used to transitioning into a new routine.” Although she always knew she would end up doing something artsy, Mrs. Marksbury wasn’t always bent on being an art teacher. She worked for 10 years as a graphic designer before she decided it wasn’t fulfilling enough and switched to teaching. So far, it’s seemed to work out okay, but the future of the Ames High art department is still uncertain. “I’m hoping that this is more of a short trend because everybody should come in and do…art.” Mrs. Marksbury said. “I teach 3-D art, Jewelry, and Ceramics, [but] not a whole lot of kids know that there’s more. Beyond [foundational 2D and 3D art], there are 3 more levels and then beyond that there’s independent study. I think we should try to make students more aware that there are more advanced levels of art.” Regardless of the rather undesirable state of the economy, Mrs. Marksbury is still hard at work helping kids reach their artistic potentials. “She [taught both of] my little brothers at Meeker,” junior Andrea Tate said. “So I’ve heard a lot about [her from them]. She’s unique. She gets things done her way, but she also lets us explore our creativity. It’s definitely different not having Norris around, but I think it’ll end up being a smooth transition.”