Teaching Art can be a lonely pursuit, and the online community is vibrant and a wonderful resource. One of the main reasons, ArtfulArtsyAmy has continued is because I like to share my experiences in the classroom with other Art teachers. The other reason I blog is because I feel very passionately about giving back and sharing with the Art Education community.
It is important for us to contribute to our community. Art Education, as a whole, becomes richer when we do so. I've begun using lessons (and hopefully creating lessons) I might not otherwise due to my online exposure to Art Education blogs. Ultimately, that helps to make me a stronger teacher.
Since the advent of Pinterest, and few other positive reviews of ArtfulArtsyAmy online, I now get a lot of daily email from readers. On the one hand, I'm incredibly flattered anyone likes anything I do enough to contact me. I've had the opportunity to collaborate with, and and actually meet, quite a few amazing Art teachers because they have emailed me. I wouldn't give up those opportunities for the world. Yet, more often, I receive rather rude emails from teachers demanding something and/or emails from the technology-challenged who are frustrated about how to download a lesson etc. etc. I've received about five alone in the past week that were just really rude. So, I thought I'd make a little informational list for when you contact blog owners and/or me.
1. Everything on this blog is free. If you find something of mine online and it has a cost, that is because the website host required it. I also do not actively or knowingly post anything on a website requiring a monetary membership. If a site requires a monetary membership, it began doing so after I uploaded content.
2. I value sources. I work very hard and very diligently to link back to any source I use both in lesson plans, images, and PowerPoints.
3. I don't have a lot of time. I work approximately 55+ hours a week as an Art Teacher. I attend graduate school (working on my doctorate) full time. I commute 3 hours round trip to my job. I write 36 pages of lesson plans a week (no really, I do). I want to respond to all of your emails. I take time about once a week to sift through blog emails.
4. I don't monitor my online content after posting. Once it is up, I rarely go back after the first week to check links etc. ArtfulArtsyAmy has been around for nearly four years, and has over three hundred posts. I am one person. The internet is a living entity that is ever-changing. I do what I can, and then let the rest fall away.
5. I cannot help you with specific technology issues. Feel free to send me an email when something is hard to download, a link is broken etc. etc.. If there is something not working, I will fix it from my end. But, I do not have the time to walk you through how to download online content. And, honestly, 99% of the questions I have about this are from people who simply are not tech savvy. I feel for you, and I'm impressed you're working outside your comfort zone. You should get the media specialist and/or a colleague to help walk you through the process. They can see your screen; I can't. But, I'm a sucker for nice people, and I love teaching about technology. . So if you send me a really nice email, I will probably try to help you.
6. I'm a person, not a service. About half the emails I get each week read like this: "I want this resource. Send it to me in this format." I'm reminded of a line in Dirty Dancing when I get these emails: "I don't just have to do anything for you." I'm human. I like manners. I like the words "please" and "thank-you." I will never, ever, email anything to anyone who can't be polite. When I get emails like this I read them aloud to my partner, and we laugh and the rudeness.
7. I love to collaborate; I love to help. If you have a collaboration idea or a question, don't hesitate to email me. It may take me a week to return your email, but I will. I really, truly, do like to be helpful.
From the bottom of my heart I love blogging with and for the Art Ed community. This online community has been one of my favorite and best sources as an educator. I really encourage you to participate by making comments on Art Ed blogs and/or maybe even hosting your own blog.