A Day In the Life

A day in the life of an Elementary Art teacher. Part 2.

…because unless you’ve ever been one, you really don’t know what it’s like.

(If you missed Part 1, you can find it here)

8:08am- You patiently wait in the hallway for your first class, 5th grade, to arrive (their class begins at 8:10).

8:12am- You’re still waiting (the Principal was late with the morning announcements, therefore making your first class late).

8:15am- You see 6th grade class headed your way (wait, what, 6th grade?). You check the clock. You check your schedule. You put on “confused” face. 6th grade teacher registers “confused” face. 6th grade teacher explains that he and 5th grade teacher switched times because 6th grade will be going on a field trip later and didn’t want to miss art (while you appreciate this gesture, you silently curse them for not telling you). 6th grade teachers asks, “Didn’t we tell you? I hope this isn’t a problem.” (all the while you are doing some quick mental adjustment and reorganizing to prepare for this). You lie, “No problem.” (just as you notice 5/6 grade Special Needs class headed your way. 5/6 grade Special Needs class normally comes with 5th grade class, but their teacher chose not to switch their schedule around because it would mess up her schedule, and can’t they just come to art with 6th grade class? Who cares that they’re working on entirely different projects. You can accommodate them, right?) You lie, “No problem.”

8:20am- Class finally starts (after of course, you figure out the seating arrangements because the addition of 5/6 grade Special Needs class throws off the 6th grade seating chart). Quick review. Pass out supplies. Students start working. Spend the next 30 minutes answering questions, drawing noses and bouncing back and forth across the classroom like a spastic art genius on too much caffeine (which, of course, isn’t true because by the time you got around to drinking your morning coffee, it was already colder than your classroom, which doesn’t get any heat, in the dead of winter. The heating system in your room broke three years ago and has yet to be repaired, forcing you to use extremely unsafe and illegal space heaters that little fingers are very tempted to touch. But I digress.).

8:50am- Clean up time. Students complain they didn’t get enough work time. Explain that this is because they were late.

8:55am- Class is over. Line kids up (5th grade is already waiting in the hallway, without 5th grade teacher because 5th grade teacher doesn’t think it’s necessary to accompany her class). 6th grade teacher is late. Wait for 6th grade teacher to pick up 6th grade class. 

8:58am- 6th grade teacher shows up for 6th grade class. 5th grade class enters art room (their class should have started at 8:55am. Although they were early, their class time has already been cut short).

9:00am- 5th grade class has finally settled in. Class begins. Quick review. Pass out supplies. Students start working. Spend the next 35 minutes answering questions, drawing noses and bouncing back and forth across the classroom like a spastic art genius on too much caffeine (which, of course, isn’t true because, well, you’ve already heard this bit).

9:35am- Clean up time. Students complain they didn’t get enough work time. Explain that this is because of the 6th graders. Notice 4th grade is already waiting in hall (with 4th grade teacher, who is eager to skip out for her morning smoke break).

9:40am- Class is over. Line kids up. 4th grade teacher apologizes for being early. 5th grade teacher is late. 4th grade teacher graciously escorts 5th grade class back to their classroom.

9:43am- 4th grade class has finally settled down. Class begins. Quick review. Pass out supplies. Students start working (work time is interrupted by pounding on your window. 4th grade teacher has forgotten her key card and needs to be let back into the building). Spend the next 38 minutes answering questions, drawing noses and bouncing back and forth across the classroom like a spastic art genius on too much caffeine (which, we know, isn’t true).

10:20am- Clean up time. Students complain they didn’t get enough work time. Explain that this is because time flies when you are having fun.

10:25am- Class is over. Line kids up. 4th grade teacher is waiting in the hallway (for which you are grateful because you have lunch next and halfway through the 4th grade art class you realized you neglected to eat breakfast and spent most of the class apologizing to the giggling 4th graders for your growling stomach). Thank 4th grade teacher for being on time (4th grade teacher mistakes this for a sign of comradery and proceeds to talk your ear off for the next five minutes about school politics and drama that you 1. could care less about and 2. have no idea about because you exist in an entirely different universe, separate from the rest of the school population).

10:30am- Explain (again) to 4th grade teacher that it is your lunch break. 4th grade teacher apologizes (and mentions, again, how awful it must be to have lunch so early. It is awful, thankyouverymuch) and leaves with 4th grade class. Remember about lunch sitting at home on the kitchen counter. Head to faculty lounge to heat up your emergency frozen entree stashed in freezer (realize that overzealous 2nd grade teacher cleaned out freezer over break and mistook your entree for garbage).

10:34am- Return to classroom. Remember that you have yet to use the bathroom since awaking this morning (and while you don’t have to go yet, you know you will not get another chance for a few hours and you’ve already been to the doctor three times this year for UTIs and you’re embarrassed at the idea of having to go back for a fourth visit. Last time the receptionist joked about giving you a “frequent flier” card.). Return to faculty lounge. Wait in line to use bathroom (because there is only one womens faculty toilet in the entire building). Get tired of waiting. Return to classroom. Use the student toilet in your classroom (all the while trying not to pee on yourself because the toilet is made for miniature people). Dig in desk for packet of stale crackers (all the while cursing the principal for scheduling you with such an early lunch period. The cafeteria isn’t even up and running yet so you can’t purchase a school lunch).  

10:40am- Spend next 12 minutes prepping for afternoon classes (all the while pulling up your pants because you’ve lost 10 lbs. already this year from missing too many breakfasts and lunches and you don’t have enough money to purchase clothes that fit. Hate yourself for becoming a teacher, committing yourself to a lifetime of being broke, and forcing you to live with clothes that you bought 5 years and 30lbs. ago).

10:52am- Sit down for the first time since arriving at work. Take a deep breath (the “afternoon” is about to start).

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One thought on “A day in the life of an Elementary Art teacher. Part 2.

  1. Thanks for posting these! This is a nice, in depth, day-in-the-life that I needed. I'm a freshman in college who just switched from being a Fashion Design major, to Art Education. I'm glad I can see what a day is like, because I don't know much about teaching. Thanks 🙂

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