You Just Have to Ask

By Donna Anderson

As we continue into the New Year, I’d like to share a little insight from a 40 year career as an art educator. Number one on my list is “It’s okay to ask for something!” I waited a long time before I had the courage to ask for something that I needed in my classroom. I thought I was being greedy or that they would say no. And sometimes they did say no. But, that’s okay. No, is an okay answer. If you don’t have something and the answer is no, you still don’t have it, so you’re even. If the answer is Yes, then you are ahead! You might be wondering who they are. My first Supervisor always called “them”, “the powers that be.”  “The powers that be” could be your Principal, your Supervisor, the School Board, the PTA at your school, or even the Junior League in your city. After I got over my fear of the “Powers that Be”, I realized that they were not my enemy and most of the time they tried to help me. I was very fortunate that I got many things for my classroom. I asked for Scholastic Art Magazines and the PTA helped me out for several years. I asked for a copy of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” and did a workshop with some of the School Board members. I was surprised with a class set of the paperback books. Another time, the art department had some extra money and I got an email asking if I needed anything. I called the office and said I’d really like a class set of Printmaking books since I taught a lot of printmaking and didn’t really have many examples to show them. There wasn’t a high school textbook at that time, but there was a book about Printmaking that I suggested. I got a call several days later that no one else responded and they were going to buy me the class set of books. Yay!!!  As you know, I ended up writing a Printmaking textbook for high school, and yet, I never had a set in my classroom to use with my students. This is the year for textbook adoption for Art, Music and P.E. If you haven’t already, ask what is available for you. The next adoption for Art won’t be for 7 years, so now is the time to ask. You can go online and see the list of books available. There are about 11 different art books and about 100 different music books. Again, there is no Printmaking book on the list. I am working on a digital version right now, so maybe next time. That would be 7 years from now! I hope you decide to ask for what you need.