I consider myself to be a competent and pretty decent art teacher. However there is always room for improvement and more know-how. I wish that these things had been taught in college. Hey, maybe they were but I was too busy taking welding and painting classes to notice!
It would have been nice to slowly step into the metaphorical pool of teaching rather than being tossed into the deep end. So now that I am a professional what if I got to spend some Professional Learning time on this kind of stuff. . .
1. How to Make a Beautiful Display.
Some art teachers are PROS at this. I look at their colorful, neat, and creative displays with envy in my eyes. I always feel like mine are a mess! I mean, how in the world am I supposed to cover something that is 4ftx5ft when my paper is only 3 ft wide? Overlapping is the solution but it always seems to be a wrinkly or crooked one. Not to mention the fact that bulletin boards are often as tall as mountains and for someone who is 5ft flat hanging the paper can be quite an ordeal. What about the borders — where do these people get the cute artsy ones that seem to go so perfectly with the artwork being displayed? Is there some secret treasure chest filled with these things down in the deep-sea of teacher supplies?!
And what in the world am I supposed to do with those cork strips? How am I supposed to hang 20 masterpieces on these things?! The walls are obviously coated with some kind of oil because the artwork always manages to slide right off despite copious amounts of hot glue, staples, and tape. I will say that I am getting better with my displays but a tutorial in how to not make them lackluster would be great.
3. How to Talk To Parents Properly.
If a kid is doing awesome I will make it a point to gush to their parent when I see them in person. Who doesn’t love to hear how great their kid is? But if a kid is struggling that is a whole ‘nother story. I think this might be because growing up my mom received quite a lot of the not-so-good kinds of phone calls about me and now I dread having to deliver them myself. (Look Mom! Its teacher karma!)
^These people all look way too comfortable and pleasant.^
Is there an easy way to tell a parent that their kid is being a complete and utter you-know-what? It’s just so awkward. Or when I do talk to a parent and shake their hand like it’s the first time I have ever done such a thing and my fingers are in the wrong place and we both know but I’m supposed to be an adult who can handle these types of interactions now so just smile OKAY BYE NICE TO MEET YOU.* Can we just pretend that is the way its done in the country of Weirdland where I am obviously from?
4. How to Order Supplies.
So if I teach 500 kids and they each do 10 projects that’s 5000 pieces of paper, right? NOPE. You have to take into account the papers that rip or have mess ups or kids who move away or kids who move here or kids that move classes or kids that eat their artwork or papers that get used in place of sticky notes when people come into my room to leave me a note and endless other possibilities. And how about paint? How can I possibly calculate the amount of paint I am going to use in a year?! What if I am scrolling through Pinterest and see an amazing paint project that I want to try out in April or decide to make our 9×12 artwork 18×24 instead? I have gotten by with rough estimations and guessing about which projects I will do when but I feel like some people must have figured out a science to this.
Also — from whom should I order the least expensive but best quality supplies? I often get reams of paper that look like they have been thrown off the Empire State Building, whirled around in a tornado, and hit by a train in order to be tumbled out into my classroom. Putting one bottle of glue in a giant box that is filled with packing plastic is no way to efficiently deliver something.* And don’t even get me started on the supply websites which were all clearly designed by blindfolded monkeys with typewriters. Thankfully I am lucky enough to work with another art teacher at each of my schools who are both good at this sort of thing. I just dread the day when I am out on my own and every project of the year is made out of tiny pieces of paper and itty bitty drops of glue.
*Based on true events
Until these are actually offered as Professional Learning credits, I will keep trying my best to make it look like I know exactly what I am doing.
Happy Friday everyone! 🙂