Benito Vacio

Language through art

What am I even doing in the art room?

I've been a full-time English teacher at my school for 5 years now but I have never thought of becoming an Art teacher. So how did my official assignment as an Art teacher begin?

Well, our Thai Art and Social Studies teacher retired last term but so far there has been no replacement as yet so the school had to make use of me - a foreign teacher somewhat knowledgeable about art.

Two years ago, two students I trained in Art won 1st and 3rd places out of 20 participating schools. So, whenever there were art competitions I would be encouraged by my coordinator to train and coach students.

Last term, because I lacked two periods to complete my required number of teaching hours, I was given 2 classes more but I requested 2 art clubs instead. It was quite hard to manage because I was used to teaching small classes but I was able to handle them well.

This term due to the ministry of education's directive of reducing student learning hours, and they really mean it because they will be monitoring these activities, the coordinator gave me 6 periods of Art classes one hour each from Grade 1 to Grade 6.

In my mind, I was thinking that I was not needed anymore. I thought it was their way of getting rid of me as an English teacher because Thais are hard to work out sometimes. I thought that they no longer gave importance to the learning of English and I felt so bad. Look, I am receiving a reasonable amount of money for teaching English to their students by Thai standards and yet there I am teaching Art.

To console myself, I considered it a blessing in disguise as long as I integrated English teaching in my classes. I told myself, "It's just like teaching Art I guess using English as a medium of instruction."

Although many years ago, I used this strategy for my refugee students, I was still adamant to use if for my primary students. Anyway, I have no choice.

So far, for the past month, things have gone well. Through Art, the students learned art terminologies, following directions, color combination, shading for better effects, and improved technique in coloring.

Unlike before they would finish coloring an art material in 5 minutes, this time, 30 minutes is not enough for most of them because they have to work slowly but surely coming up with a more appealing, more awesome, and more beautiful piece of art.

Next time, I will share with you how I teach English through Art.


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