Dear Students: I Don't Know
Dear Students

Dear Students: I Don’t Know.

Dear Students,

I don’t know. I don’t know what we’re doing in art today. I don’t know when your clay piece will be out of the kiln. I don’t know where the pencils are, or the erasers. I don’t know whose paper this is. I don’t know why you didn’t put your name on it the last time I returned it to you with no name on it.

Dear Students: I Don't Know

I don’t know why your classmates are talking. I don’t know why no one can raise their hands. I don’t know where the pencil sharpener is, and I don’t know who broke the lead off inside of it.

I don’t know why there is water on your table. I don’t know who spilled paint on the floor. I don’t know who put the paint brush back dirty. I don’t know why it smells in here. Continue reading

Art Teachers Hate Glitter #tbt From the Archives
Dear Students

#tbt: “What’s a rubber?”

This post previously appeared on Art Teachers Hate Glitter on May 4, 2012.

“What’s a rubber?” the innocent (or so I thought) first grade girl inquired.

“What?” I asked back, while my inner panic alarms began to sound.

“A rubber. What’s a rubber? Aaron* wants one.”

My keen teacher hearing is now on full alert as I scan the art room, trying to locate Aaron. Ah, there he is…

Aaron is repeatedly questioning his classmates,“Does anyone have a rubber? I need a rubber.”

I relax, look back at the girl, and reply, “it’s an eraser. He’s looking for an eraser. That’s what they call them in Australia.”


I can see it now. This poor little girl is going to be sitting at her dinner table, and her parents are going to ask what she learned in school today. Of course, she’s excitedly going to tell them that she learned about rubbers in art class. I swear, these first graders will be the death of me this year.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent Australian kid who doesn’t know any better.

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

Art Teachers Hate Glitter #tbt From the Archives
Dear Students

#tbt: We All Have Secrets

This post previously appeared on Art Teachers Hate Glitter on February 2, 2011.

Dear Kindergartner:
Hey there, little buddy. How ya doin’? Doing good? Listen, the other day, when you were in my classroom, well, you kind of sort of left something behind when you left. I know the item in question isn’t something a student would normally leave behind in class, so I assure you I will handle this issue delicately. Here, why don’t you come over here where the other students won’t hear, and I’ll try to keep me voice down. Continue reading

Dear Students

The Fine Print

Click image to read the fine print

Today I engaged my sixth graders in a lesson on graffiti art. And while I was silently sweating over how many phone calls I might receive from irate parents, my students were discussing the meaning of art, what makes someone an artist, the purpose of street art, and the importance of pushing boundaries. And I think it’s fair to say, they had a great time. Continue reading

Dear Students

6 Ways You Can Tell Your Art Teacher Has “Checked Out” for the Year

1. She shows up “late”. Art teachers get to school early. Insanely early. Like, an hour before contract time starts. What’s contract time? Um, think of it as the time you’re just getting out of bed. Yeah, I know, that’s early. When you’re sitting down to breakfast, your art teacher is on her third cup of bad staff room coffee and has already loaded the kiln, emptied the drying rack and prepped your supplies for the day. If you see an art teacher strolling in 20-30 minutes before contract time she’s “late” and has probably already checked out for the year. Whether it’s because she stayed up extra late the night before*, stopped for coffee on the way to school, or slept through her alarm, your art teacher is late. On second thought, this isn’t something you kids will ever notice, but trust me, it happens.

2. She dresses up. Art teachers rarely get the chance to dress up. No, that’s not a sub,** that woman in the art room wearing a black dress and sandals is actually your art teacher. If you are greeted by a well dressed art teacher, you can pretty much guarantee she has checked out. That’s right, you won’t be working with any real art supplies today. Color sheets for the win! On the other hand, if you happen to have one of those art teachers who regularly dresses professionally (it happens), then you can guarantee she’s checked out when she shows up to school, on a Thursday, wearing jeans and one of those free school shirts she shunned all year long.

3. You’re watching a movie during art class. Most teachers want to show movies at the end of the year, because, hello?, checked out, however, many schools don’t allow this. Art teachers are rebels. Art teachers will throw caution to the wind and show you a movie on your last day of art. Listen; if administration insists upon having specials up until the last minute of the last day of school, then you’re watching a movie. How else is your art teacher supposed to get the mandatory end of the year cleaning and packing done? Come in on her own time? Actually, she probably will, but you’re still watching a movie, dammit, so just sit down and enjoy it.***

4. You’re playing an art review game. Here’s a little secret. Review games aren’t a treat for you; they’re a necessary break from cutting paper and washing paint brushes that your art teacher desperately needs. And yes, it’s educational, and you review things you should have learned throughout the year, and blah, blah, blah, but that’s not the point. The point is, your art teacher is tired, her hands are scarred from a year’s worth of paper cuts and kiln burns, and if she just wants to stand in the front of the room tapping the SMARTBoard for an hour while you play Art Jeopardy, then so be it, because she has checked out.

5. She’s giving art supplies away. You know how your art teacher was on your case all year long about not taking supplies from the art room?  Remember how she lectured you about why you couldn’t take the stitchery needles from the art room, instructing you on how you could make your own ghetto versions at home?+ Sharpie makers? Forget about it. Remember how she guarded her pencils like she was Gollum guarding her Precious? Now, all of a sudden, it’s the end of the year and she’s giving those things away. Clearly your art teacher has checked out. Also, she knows she’s getting new supplies next year, so yeah, take those stubby pencils and half dried up Sharpies. Yarn? Sure, take it. A bag full of used crayons? Old glue sticks? Well used Play-Doh? Yes. Take it all.

6. She’s falls asleep during class. Hey, cut her some slack. She was up late last night catching old episodes of Supernatural and Don’t Trust the B*tch in Apt 23 on Netflix. And she slept through her alarm this morning, again. And it’s dark in here, because, movie, duh, and she’s been running around all day trying to pack up her room. So yeah, you’re teacher nodded off during class this afternoon. Big whoop, she’s checked out, and so have you, dear students, so let’s just move on, shall we?

* As if that’s any different than any other night of the year. I’d be curious to hear how many art teachers consider themselves to be night owls. I know I do.

** True story, I had a student mistake me for a sub the other day. Could have been the dress, could have been the new haircut, hard to say.

*** I’ve been showing The Hero of Color City all week. I’ve watched it 8 times, and I have yet to see how it ends. It’s available on YouTube and Netflix.

+ Yarn taped to toothpicks, unfolded paper clips, those little blue flossers you use for braces…