Inservice for Teachers

As promised, I am going to tackle the idea of arts groups doing inservice days for teachers. I could have sworn I wrote on this topic before, but a search of the site using different terminology says no.

The idea is pretty simple really. Arts organizations should leverage their expertise and create inservice day programs for teachers. Every so many days a year, teachers usually have days where they have to go to work and the students don’t. Usually there are sessions about how they can sharpen their teaching skills.

One place I worked, in cooperation with the local school districts, helped bring artists and teachers together to teach them new skills and activities for their students. The teachers loved it because instead of trying to learn from handouts, they were engaged in practical activities squishing clay between their fingers and doing other fun stuff.

Usually high school visual art teachers have a degree or a number of classes in their field so they know what they are doing to some extent. High School drama teachers on the other hand tend to be English or History teachers who are drafted into running the drama club so they need a lot of help! (I think this practice diminished the value of the arts in schools because it perpetuates the idea that anyone can fake their way through the creation of art. Of course, the lackluster results just convince people there isn’t much worth to it.)

Anyway, these poor part time drama teachers can always use a quick basic class in lighting design theory, use of a light/sound board, costuming, acting exercises, cheap, but impressive looking set construction techniques, etc.

It is stuff like that I hope to offer teachers under the next phase of the strategic plan. Of course, I will also be looking to have the sessions resonate with the Dept of Ed. Fine Arts Curriculum.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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