A Day In the Life

“One extra degree makes all the difference.”

Here I was, sitting in a staff meeting, being told by the administration that I can achieve more if I’m willing to give just a little bit more of myself, and all I can think is, “I’ve got nothing left to give.” You’ve taken one of my days. You’ve taken my classroom.  You’ve taken my instructional time. I have given everything, and yet I haven’t received more of anything in return. Except maybe students. I have more students in each class, but I can’t see that as a good thing.

Let me back it up. The idea is, if you push yourself just one degree more, you can go from hot to boiling, and boiling produces steam, and steam powers locomotives, and that’s an awesome thing. Or something like that. Honestly, you lost me at boiling. Yes, if I’m pushed just one degree more, I will be boiling, because I’ve been pushed pretty far this year already, and I’m none to happy about it.

First, they cut one of my days because “our numbers are down.” Then, they took my classroom because “our numbers are up.” And then, they cut my class time by ten minutes, gave me more students per class, and put me in a room with two other teachers. Two full time teachers, mind you. And now I’m being told to give more. Just a little bit more will make all the difference. Success is right around the corner.

Another favorite talking point was eliminating wasted time, “where can you cut back on wasted time?” (Well, for starters, I could not be in this meeting. There’s an hour and a half of wasted time I’ll never get back). Believe it or not, if you cut out 30 minutes of screen time every day, and put that time towards something more productive, like work, that equals 7,568 hours, which equals 4 1/2 solid weeks of time you could be using for work.* Think about that. Just thirty minutes a day. Because we all have that kind of time to spare, right?

I know this is supposed to be motivational. I get it, and maybe I could see the bigger picture here if it didn’t feel like I was being sh*t on, excuse my French. What I’m seeing though, the story I’m telling myself, is that I’m unnecessary, my class is wasted time**, and cuts must be made for the greater good in order to achieve success. Maybe I do see the big picture after all.

What kind of motivational nonsense have you had to sit through?

You better believe I was experiencing the 5 Stages of Staff Meeting Grief

*My numbers are suspect. I wasn’t really paying attention.

**Kid you not, this is basically what I was told when I questioned why art classes were being reduced by ten minutes.

A Day In the Life

The 5 Stages of Staff Meeting Grief

Staff meetings. So much fun. So productive. So relevant. So not true.

Back to school time is upon us. The emails are already blowing up my inbox. I’m heading into a week of meetings, professional development and various training sessions. Maybe, like me, you approach these days with refreshed optimism. Oh, how quickly it fades.The 5 Stages of Staff Meeting Grief www.athglitter.comBe strong, friends. Soon enough the students will be coming through those doors and all that training information, all those “important” handouts, will be forgotten in the bottom of our teacher bags, buried under SMARTR goals, assessments and learning objectives.

A Personal Note: It appears I am “back”. Time will tell if it sticks. These past two years (and of course, by “years,” I’m speaking in terms of school years) have really put me through the ringer, to say the least. If art teachers really do have expiration dates, I may be nearing mine soon, but until then, I’m still here. I’m back, and it’s good to see you again, friends.

I’ll be returning to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest soon, so don’t forget to follow me.

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A Day In the Life

How To Survive Back-to-School Professional Development

NOTE: This post was supposed to be published a couple of weeks ago, but evidently I forgot to schedule it, so it’s been sitting around, waiting for it’s moment to shine. I know it’s a little outdated, and probably irrelevant now, but let’s give it its moment, ‘kay?

It’s that time of year again. Back to school! Time to sit through hours of meetings and professional development while reminiscing about the good ole days when you used to sit by the pool, or go camping, or take a trip to the post office at 10:00 AM, on a Tuesday. Ah, those were the days. And to think, it was just a couple of weeks ago. *Sigh*

Fear not! I present to you, my tried and true tips for surviving back-to-school professional development.

Surviving back-to-school professional development www.athglitter.com

If you follow these 10 tried and true tips, I guarantee, you will survive those long, boring, tedious hours of professional development.

Have a great school year! I’m sure everything will go smoothly, and no one will throw you any unexpected bumps on your road to a productive school year.

What kind of painful PD did you have to endure this year?

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Art Teachers Hate Glitter #tbt From the Archives athglitter.com
A Day In the Life

#tbt: Super Art Teacher

This post previously appeared on Art Teachers Hate Glitter on December 10, 2010.

We all want to be the perfect art teacher, right? Everyone’s favorite teacher. The one who has cool stories to tell, the one with all sorts of art knowledge, and the one who teaches every student everything they ever wanted to know about art. We want to connect with every student, invoke…

What? A drink? No, you can’t go get a drink. If I send you I’ll have to send everyone. Now please listen, it’s Ms. Art Teacher’s time to talk.

Where was I? Oh right, the perfect art teacher. We dream of being the teacher who instills curiosity in our students’ minds. Encourages them to experiment and explore and investigate. We want our students to…

Can you please sit still? What do you need? Do you think now is an appropriate time to use the bathroom? Probably not, huh? You can go when I ‘m finished talking.

Um, right, so, we want our students to be amazed with our demonstrations, enthralled by the knowledge we’re sharing with them, um… where was I headed with this again? Right, we want to show them all the sneaky “art tricks”, the cool “artists’ techniques”, the…

Where are you going? We’re not even using our pencils today, why do you need to sharpen it? Please return to your seat, put the pencil back in the pencil bin, and pay attention.

So, um… art tricks… techniques… right, provider of all art related knowledge. I, we, want to explain to students all the magical things that happen with clay when it’s fired, the neat chemistry behind glazes, how to slip and score, “pinch” and coil. We want them to be excited, to think that this is the BEST ART DAY EVER, every day. We want them to wake up every Thursday, or Day 3, or Monday, and think, ” I can’t wait to go to school because I have art today and I love art!” We want them… we want…

Yes, we’ll get started soon, but I actually have to talk to you and explain what it is we’re doing before you can start, so, please, for the third time, listen and pay attention or else you’re not going to know what to do.

Yes, so, we want to mold the minds of the artistically inclined, pique their interest in everything artistic and creative. Encourage their free thinking. Let them…

Can you please stop calling out Ms. Art Teacher’s name? Please? If you need my help, just raise your hand, and I’ll be there after I help the 23 other students who need my help because they don’t know what to do because they didn’t pay attention to the directions. Yes, other student tugging on my sweater, I know you know what to do because you paid attention, because you always pay attention. No, while I appreciate your eagerness to help, please just go back to doing your own work.

We want them to be excited, to think that this is the BEST ART DAY… wait, I already said that, didn’t I? Now I lost my train of thought. What I mean is, we want to be the smartest, rockin’est teacher ever. We want our students to leave our class feeling more alive and more informed than they did when they walked in. We want…

Oh, geez! Look at the time. It’s time to go. We’ll just have to finish this up next time, won’t we? No, no, that’s all for today, we’ll continue this next week. No, now is not the time to use the bathroom either.  Just clean up your stuff and be on your way.


Ms. Art Teacher could use a drink.

For more student funnies, check out more of Things Students Say. Or check out more #tbt posts.

A Day In the Life

Explaining An Art-Based Fundraiser to 6th Graders

Explaining an Art Based Fundraiser to 6th Graders athglitter.com

Fundraisers. Ugh. I have a problem with them, guys, I can not lie. I’m not sure I can exactly explain my problem, maybe because I feel like I’m pimping out my students, but I have reservations nonetheless. Maybe if the money went to the art room instead of computers? I don’t know. What are your thoughts? Do you love or hate art based fundraisers? Maybe you have mixed feelings? Tell me about it in the comments.

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