Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not Your Typical Substitute Teachers: Super Subs Bring the Arts To Schools

Interesting group in California called Super Subs infuses the arts during day-long programs in schools.  Smart model if the teaching artists are actual licensed substitutes and can be on their own with students in a classroom--this wasn't clear to me.
If this doesn't sound like a typical class, that's because it isn't. These aren't your typical teachers; they are substitutes. And they aren't your typical substitute teachers, either -- they're Super Subs.
The brainchild of Barboza, a retired teacher, the Super Subs program is a way to bring arts and music to underserved students. Barboza recruited a group of friends -- some of whom once played together in a semiprofessional band -- to be the subs. At first, the idea was to give back to schools in the community where they all grew up. But after experiencing success at their local schools, they decided to take their show on the road.
Here's how it works: Barboza and the twenty other musicians, artists, writers, and designers he's recruited take over classes for the day. They teach their own brand of music, art, writing, journalism, and self-esteem. The visits don't cost schools a dime. The Personal News Network, a social-media Web site run by one of the Super Subs, picks up the tab, and most of the Super Subs volunteer their time. 
A teacher says:
"Our kids don't necessarily get experiences like this. You know how when you think back to high school, there were a few days when something happened that you really remember as being great? I want this to be one of those days for these kids."
But why can't they have this every day? Wouldn't it be great if all (or at least most) learning could create great, memorable, transformative experiences?

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