My grandmother always used to tell me that “the devil is in the details!” and when it comes to scheduling your artist-in-residences, this couldn’t be more true.
This is really true about a lot of things in education, but that’s besides the point.
Artists-in-residences require a lot of time and effort. And scheduling them well is critical to the success of the program. Make sure that you talk with the artist to find out when they can come and that it will best match your school schedule. If it doesn’t, see if you can make other arrangements. Flexibility is key. The artist-in-residence we just had was rescheduled three times due to snow. We shuffled some things around in our curriculum, he shuffled some things around in his performance schedule and we still managed to make it work well for the students.
The Artist’s Schedule
Also, be aware that the artist may have special scheduling needs you haven’t thought of. They may need time to set up or tear down for their project. They may want to meet with teachers before the lesson to find out prior knowledge or to show them some different techniques. Also, just because you and I have trained our bladders for the life of a teacher, doesn’t mean that an artist has done the same. Allow them some breaks to use the bathroom, eat lunch and to recharge occasionally throughout the day.
The School Schedule
Know your school schedule inside and out. Know when the kids go to lunch, recess and are in specials. If you are doing a residency with poetry, know when the language arts blocks are for each grade level. If the residency is happening in the related arts classroom, find out when the teachers from that grade can come in and watch/work with the artist. You want to make sure that the residency is valuable to everyone and not just being used as another planning block.
The Money Schedule
Finally, be aware of when forms are due and get them in ahead of schedule. Most residencies require a deposit, forms to the various agencies/artist for contract, and an evaluation form. If you are using grant funds at all, these need to be a top priority. The artist gets paid and you receive your reimbursement only if these forms are filled out. So keep them on the calendar and make sure you carve out some time to complete them.
Details, details, details. The more work you put in ahead of time to schedule the residency and align the details, the better your whole experience will be!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.