A Day In the Life, Gripes

10 More Things An Elementary Art Teacher Will Never Tell You

Hello, regular classroom teachers! Guess what?

  1. We lie to you about our supplies. I know I told you I gave away my last bag of pipe cleaners to one of your cohorts, but what I meant was, I gave away the last bag of pipe cleaners that I had in my room. We have loads more in the storage closet. I didn’t tell you that though because then you would have wanted me to go get you some. I wasn’t about to walk to the other end of the school to get you one lousy bag of pipe cleaners. Plus, I don’t want you to think I’m your go-to person for craft supplies. Next you’ll be coming to me looking for feathers and glitter. [shudder]
  2. We slept through art history in college. Twice. And that’s not because I failed it the first time, thankyouverymuch, but because art history is such a huge, expansive topic that it took two semesters to “learn” all the “important” works of art. (If you’ve ever taken an art history course, then you understand why I placed quotation marks around those two words.)
  3. We work hard to keep art class legit. That being said…
  4. We find crafts to be appealing. Sometimes. Especially around the holidays and vacations. And at the end of the school year. Basically whenever the kids are getting squirrely and we’ve just cleaned our 800th bucket of dirty brushes and loaded the kiln for the twelfth time this year. I swear, if you tell anyone I told you that, I’ll show you exactly why glue guns should never be used as chapstick applicators. Just because we can see the appeal of the simple crafts, doesn’t mean we give in to it. At least not every time.
  5. Our duty is better than your duty. My once a week, twice a day bus duty is better than your daily recess duty. Five years ago, my once a week morning bus duty was better than your daily lunch duty.
  6. We still don’t know your name.
  7. We don’t know how to grade art. It’s not like there’s an answer key or anything. I hate grading art. It’s so dang hard. It’s not like I can just whip out that fancy, double ended, red/blue pen you regular classroom teachers love to use and start marking up my students’ work. Wouldn’t that be lovely? “Ms. ATHG, how come there’s all these red circles on my painting?” “Well, Jimmy, those are all the places you neglected to show proper illusion of depth. And those big red arrows are all the places you failed to show good craftsmanship. And the big red check marks? Well, those I just added for the sake of variety and visual balance, something you obviously don’t understand, as I indicated through my use of the big red underlines.”
  8. The apologetic smiles and head tilts you give us when you drop off your unruly students don’t ease the pain of the torturous class we’re about to endure for the next hour. You know what would help? LEARNING SOME CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT SKILLS! That way, I wouldn’t have to retrain your students on how to behave in a classroom every single week. It really puts a damper on our art class.
  9. Dropping your students off 5 minutes late does not mean you get to pick them up 5 minutes late. And as that clock continues to tick, and I see you slowly strolling down the hall, slurping your iced latte, and casually conversing with a colleague, you’re dang tootin’ right I’m sending your line of students out to meet you.
  10. Teaching art is fun, and we don’t envy you for your job. I can’t even begin to imagine how much of a burden it is to be responsible for a child’s ability to read, let alone 30, every year. No thank you. I’ll take my job, for better or worse, for thick or thin, over your job any day of the week. Thankyouverymuch.

17 thoughts on “10 More Things An Elementary Art Teacher Will Never Tell You

  1. Suzannie says:

    Oh how we'd get along!! My art colleagues & I “discussed” these very issues recently. Thank you for making us art teachers realize we are not alone. 🙂


  2. Another great list. Your first list of “Things an Art Teacher will Never Tell You” was how I first found your blog way back when….! You have a funny way of saying what we all feel. Thanks for putting into words what we all are feeling.
    Keep on writing–


  3. Have to admit, I am just a regular classroom teacher – but I love your blog!! It always makes me smile 🙂 Unfortunately where I live we don't get art specialists in school any more. The good part about that, though, is that I get to teach art lessons (hence why I read lots of art blogs) and, as you say, teaching art is very fun!


  4. I love #7. Fortunately I only have to record a child's reflection on their work once a year. Reading your “bitch and moan” has taken the steam out of my need to do so. Not that anyone would listen. Thanks, keep it up.


  5. Hey! First of all congrats on the Art Ed Blog of the Year Nomination! Second, I totally relate to #1. Over the summer, when I taught arts and crafts, other counselors and head people would treat my art area like it was a Michaels. They would borrow our supplies and never return it. Since my art area was in a more secluded area, other people would arrive on their golf carts asking to borrow supplies and my co-specialist and I were expected to get our supplies back ourselves as opposed to them dropping it off because they had the luxury of a golf cart. One time, I was carrying a gallon of black tempera and it spilled all over my leg and new sneakers. All this because people weren't considerate enough to return the supplies they borrowed :(. My co-specialist and I ended up lying about how many supplies we had.


  6. Anonymous says:

    I am with you Miss R. I needed this laugh today…I have no idea how to grade the projects my students do, when all they are interested in is hurry up and get it done. Why do they have a C in art?…Perhaps you could follow directions Suzie. Perhaps continuing to add watercolor until the blue sky is black made a difference? …I digress…anyway, I love the blog!


  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for making me laugh! I love this list. Well except #5. I have bus duty 2x a day everyday, but actually, I'd still take that over recess duty!


  8. MW says:

    I just found your site courtesy of AOE contest. Love your lists to the classroom teachers. After teaching high school art for six years I was just transplanted to teach in three elementary buildings this year. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Thank you fellow art teacher! You hit the nail on the head with all of your posts. I am cracking up laughing. Your lists to the classroom teachers are the same as mine and sounds like a lot of us out here! You are fun. I would love to teach next door to you. I will have 35 classes to teach every week next year by myself. Those administrators keep squeezing those classes in, over 750 students. We serve them all. Get there early, prepare,lunch in my art room, gulping it down in 5 minutes, then back to prep work, after school, more prep. And don't forget the morning duty once a week. Regardless, AMEN! I love teaching art it IS fun. Please keep up your blog next year. I need someone to laugh with when I come home exhausted from school, even if it is a blog. Thanks.


  10. Cowgirl Potter says:

    LOVE #9 (I’m at the high school now, but this is a flashback and soooo real!) All elementary regular education teachers should definitely be educated HERE!


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