Arts – Academics – Athletics

The 3 A’s; arts, academics, and athletics. These are the three components of a good education.

I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms before. But as soon as I heard another teacher mention this at the workshop I attended two weeks ago, I scribbled it down as a pearl of wisdom.

I have noticed in some schools that the arts are not really valued. They get neglected for a variety of reasons. Some teachers do not feel comfortable teaching the arts because they have no experience and believe that they have no talent.

The truth is, everyone can learn how to sing, appreciate art, dance, or act. We can study techniques and the elements basic to these four art forms. Any teacher can teach the arts, and moreover has the obligation to do so.

We have four strands in the provincial curriculum; visual arts, music, dance, and drama. I feel very comfortable teaching the first two of these. I am a musician and really enjoy teaching music. I know enough about art that I actually teach it instead of just having a craft or project for the students to do each week. I’ll admit that I don’t really feel comfortable teaching dance. I basically have no rhythm when it comes to dance. That being said, I have taught it several times because it is part of my job.

I think when it comes to the arts, we basically give permission for teachers not to teach it. Teachers will threaten to take away art or gym as a consequence in their classes. We will let teachers get away with not teaching music or dance because we value the other subjects more. This is wrong.

We would never tell a teacher that it’s okay just to do a little bit of math. We’d never say. “It’s okay, do what you can. Don’t worry about it.” But we say this all the time about the arts.

I feel that the arts are important and need to be taught in school. Teachers can’t make excuses why they don’t teach the four disciplines. I know that there are a million excuses out there. And I wholeheartedly agree that every school should have a music teacher, a drama teacher, and a physical education teacher. But until that day is a reality, we as classroom teachers have a responsibility to teach these subjects to our students.