A Day In the Life

Even Art Teachers Feel Uncool. (We’re Not, but We Feel It Sometimes.)

It’s 5:30am. You’re feeling good. You’re freshly showered and smelling good too. Your hair is styled, your clothes are neat, and damn, girl! You are going to rock this day! You fill your belly with a (somewhat) healthy breakfast, get the preschooler ready to go, and you’re out the door, on time, at 6:45am. Nothing can get you down now. At 7:30am you arrive at work, 30 minutes early, just the way you like it. You’re full of energy, bouncy even. You’re looking good, and feeling good. Bring it on, school day, bring it on! But first, it’s 8:00am. Kiss and Ride duty. So back outside in the humidity to play bad cop with the make-their-own-rules parents. 8:35am, back inside because your first class is coming in ten minutes.

Your first two class are an hour long and back-to-back but you’re prepped and after a quick bathroom break, you’re ready to go. You nail the morning lessons, despite the unexpected lack of AC in your windowless classroom, and in spite of your angry, roaring stomach, which burned through your granola, yogurt and fruit breakfast four hours ago. It’s 10:45am and you scarf down your barely heated lunch so you can prep for your three, hour long afternoon classes, and maybe reply to those emails you’ve been meaning to get to. But you forgot to cut paper for your Kinder class, so those emails will have to wait. Again. It’s 11:45am, and your 3rd grade class is waiting at the door. You haven’t found the portrait mirrors yet, and you forgot to use the bathroom, but hey, you got this, you’re a pro. Time to put on your teacher face. It’s smooth sailing from here until 3:00pm.

And then it happens. You run into her. The cool teacher. Maybe she’s dropping her quiet, well-behaved class off at your door, or maybe you literally ran into her on your hurried way to the bathroom, but regardless, there she is. It’s 1:00pm, she’s cool, she’s calm and she still looks put together. Her hair is morning fresh, her clothes are sans wrinkles, she smells like a soap and perfume commercial, and her face looks like “sweat” is a foreign word. Meanwhile, your carefully tucked and neatly straightened outfit from the morning has become bag lady disheveled. Your face is beet red from running around all day and you’re sweating, and smelling, like a 1980’s body builder who hasn’t showered since, well, the 1980’s. Your stylish and strategic “messy” hair from 5:30 this morning is now just messy. But also flat. And greasy. Damnit! Was that your stomach that just growled? Do you think she heard?

As confident as you felt this morning, you now feel like the most inadequate, ill-kempt teacher on the planet. All thanks to Miss Cool Girl, who doesn’t look a day over 24. But you can’t blame her, it’s not like she’s a Mean Girl, or maybe she is, you don’t know, you don’t have time to leave your room to socialize, aka gossip, so what do you know? But hey, you got this, you’re a pro. You put on your teacher face, give her your most winningest smile and move on with your day. You sail through you’re 2nd grade class, and somehow manage to survive the hour long Kindergarten class. It’s 3:00pm, and you follow your Kinders out the door because your CLT meeting has already started, and you can’t wait to grace the tiny conference room with your stinky, smelly self.

It’s 4:30pm and you’re finally leaving to go pick up your child from preschool. Your tired body is almost, almost, looking forward to the hour and a half commute home because it means you get to sit down for the first time that day (you were the last one to arrive at the CLT meeting. There were no chairs for you). You pull into the driveway at 6:15pm, drag your bags and your three year old into the house, and before you tackle the chore of dinner prep, you sneak away to the bathroom where you can fully assess the end of the day version of you. Your fears are confirmed, you look as bad as you feel, tired, frumpy and drained of all energy. Oh, and hey, look at that. There’s a giant wad of spinach stuck in your teeth. How cliche. And you know Miss Cool Girl saw it. *Sigh* You pick it out, throw on your pajamas, and trudge back downstairs because there’s four hours left in your day and your child is complaining that she’s hungry.


14 thoughts on “Even Art Teachers Feel Uncool. (We’re Not, but We Feel It Sometimes.)

    • Common planning time, man. It’s required. They (and by they, of course I mean the real teachers) need X number of minutes a day/week. Therefore, an hour of Kindergarten art. We have since convinced the Kinder teachers that 45 minutes of art would be better for everyone. Until December that is. Then it’s back to 60 minutes.


  1. I am so with you on this one honey! My days are pretty identical.. Classes an hour long only I teach 16 years olds who will refuse to draw anything if they put it in their heads… But hold on… We’re still the cool art teachers no matter what……. In the eyes of our kids we rock I’m completely sure of that! 😉


  2. Chris Durkee says:

    If it makes you feel any better(probably not, but at least we can co-miserate) I’m up at 445 to get myself ready. Then I get my 6,8 and 2 year olds up and ready. The boy is still in diapers and the older girls need their hair done and dont even start on how they now have nothing to wear,ever. Then breakfast for everone and leave by 630 for my hour and 15 minute commute. All my classes are 65 minutes – even kindergarten and SE classes. Then I do the ride home, pick up the kids from daycare and help with their homework while making dinner, then up to bath time and bed time. Don’t forget to read to everyone too, that’s important! And fall into bed myself.I totally understand your day lady! But you are doing it! It gets easier, you’ll find tricks and methods and settle into a routine. You are doing a good job!


    • You rock. Plain and simple. Here I am whining about my one child, and you’re doing it with three kids. AND 65 minute art classes. You must be exhausted all the time. Thank you for sharing.


  3. G. Floyd says:

    I have a new dilemma this year, the Art teacher has been required to be a homeroom teacher for 8th graders…….so that means I have “Team Planning” with the other 8th grade teachers everyday……..instead of a planning period ALONE…….and yes, I feel uncool, unprepared, uninformed and all around out of place……..I try to smile when I’m with them but all I think about is what I need to be doing instead of sitting with them……….I am very sad this year…………


      • G. Floyd says:

        So many kids in 8th grade that they needed another “body”…..Tag, I’m it….it will be okay….I enjoy reading your blog..makes me feel so not alone with all your adventures too! Still, so many think my job is so fun and easy…that’s the curse we carry….hang in there “uncool” woman……I carry my awkwardness with pride…
        Sisters of creative spirits… ❤


  4. yvonneinsecaucus@clear.net says:

    So sad the situations art teachers regularly find themselves in. Mommy teachers will always look a little less polished than regular classroom teachers. We just have more to do. But ladies it can be worse. I work at a charter school. (I am only here because as mid life career change teacher this is the only job I could find in the current economy.) My charter starts its school day at 7:30 and ends at 4:30, so yes that’s nine hours a day. My class are only 45 minutes long, but I teach 7 of them a day I have fewer preps, more classes and duties than the classroom teachers. I have been flat out told that my preps are less important than classroom teachers. Never mind that the classroom teacher are provided with a curriculum that practically writes the lesson plans for them. Never mind that I am held to a standard of instruction that includes monthly units that incorporate art history, technique, and portfolios. Portfolio grading with my rubric is lots of fun. But you know what, I do it all; art shows, facility wide decorations, stage sets and everything a classroom teacher does. So dammit I am cool even if after a long day of what is a degree of physical labor that would put most of the “regular” teachers under the table, I am a little smelly and disheveled. Heads up ladies and gentlemen.


  5. Lauren says:

    I’ve just recently found your blog and I can’t.stop.reading.

    I’ve just had a day like this – and many others you so eloquently describe across your blog. Please know in the midst of this INSANITY you are making a difference and you have collegues across the globe working alongside you – even when you feel like the drowning island (NOT floating) in your schools.



  6. artmom says:

    Wow that totally sounds like my day. Except at my school they decided that the K5-3rd grade students should have 3 30 minute art periods a week. Which we all know works out to about 30 minutes of work time a week since theres clean up and getting ready. My classes are back to back 3 days a week so I get that too.


  7. Pingback: Happy New Year: A 2014 Summary | Art Teachers Hate Glitter

  8. How do we get so disheveled? I’m not covered in dirt or paint or anything (usually)–I wear aprons when stuff gets messy. But, I’m just a mess. Everything is wrinkled and baggy and stretched out and just terrible looking at the end of each day. I usually check my teeth after lunch, but often I’ll have a smudge of something somewhere on my face that nobody tells me about that I don’t notice until I get home and wash my face at the end of the day.


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