Art Teachers Hate Glitter #tbt From the Archives

#tbt: Art Supplies Gone Wild

Portions of this post previously appeared on Art Teachers Hate Glitter on December 14, 2011 and on March 25 2011.

I’m not sure how this happened; I’ve never seen it happen before, but this pretty much says it all about how my day went. Of course, it could have been worse. I could have been the poor man I saw get hit by a service van this morning (he was okay. It was definitely his fault. The orange hand means don’t walk, kids).

Read the full story.

Why? I mean, seriously, why? Why, oh why, would you do this to us poor teachers? Apparently your new marker design is “greener” since they’re made from recycled bottle caps, and I’m all about being green, BUT I am not a fan of dumb ideas. And this, Crayola®, this is a dumb design.

Read the full story.

For more things that really burn my biscuits, check out more gripes. Or check out more #tbt posts.

Art Teachers Hate Glitter #tbt From the Archives

Spring Break! and #tbt: I Know Why the Art Teacher Cries

Portions of this post previously appeared on Art Teachers Hate Glitter on February 23, 2013.

Spring Break… because of paper cuts. And cardboard cuts.
… because she just sat in a puddle of water. Again.
… because it’s only Wednesday, but it has felt like Thursday for two days now.
… because she just stepped in green paint. Again.
… because her clock won’t stop buzzing, no matter how many times she beats it.
… because working in a tiny octagonal room with no windows and 30 sixth graders triggers her claustrophobia.
… because she’s on bus duty and has realized that she left her gloves inside.
… because she’s on her way to her car and has realized that her gloves have been in her pocket all along.
… because a 1st grader corrected her math. Continue reading

Art Teachers Hate Glitter #tbt From the Archives

#tbt: Crafts Are For Summer Camp. I Teach Art

This post previously appeared on Art Teachers Hate Glitter on June 11, 2011.

Dear sweet, innocent, substitute teacher,

I don’t even think you realized what you said today when you said it. There we were, discussing the fact that you’re new to the county, you were asking me questions about schools in the area, I was giving you tips on where to apply, all while the Kindergarten students you were assisting with were toiling away on their creations. The conversation was going alright, albeit a little distracting and inappropriately timed, but pleasant nonetheless.

And then you said it. Right there, in the middle of my art class, “I never understood how to teach crafty things to little kids. All that glue and stuff. How do you manage it?” Continue reading



My Instagram feed has been filled with fun, celebratory, #lastdayofschool posts today. doughnutThey’re only outnumbered by the insane number of colorful, candy-colored, National Doughnut Day posts. Meanwhile, I’m over here crunching numbers for my SMARTR goal and definitely not eating doughnuts, f* you very much. Some of us still have a few weeks of school left, and some of us have egg allergies. Whatever. I hope you choke on your doughnut on your way to the beach.

Ok, not really, but I am feeling a little bitter. Did you read that part about the SMARTR goal? I’m basically in art teacher hell right now, trying to calculate the achievement of my students using math. [shudder]

Fun fact: I suck at completing things on time, returning emails, completing paperwork, and pretty much anything that involves the phone, a calendar or planning ahead. Which is why I find myself pulling my hair out trying to complete my SMARTR goal data and paperwork a week after it was due. I expect a scolding email from my assistant principal any day now.

I hate SMARTR goals. When they were first introduced in our schools, I cried. I’m not kidding. I had no idea what I was being asked to do, and I had even less of an idea of how to make it work for art. Thinking about it made my head buzz. Fast forward a few years to today, and I have a better idea of how to translate it to art, but not necessarily a better idea of how to make it work. But I understand that I have to set a goal to meet by the end of the year, and I understand that this goal has to be measured in percentages, and I understand that if I don’t meet this goal, I will need to come up with some sort of plan to do something that I don’t understand because I didn’t bother paying attention to this part because I always expected to meet my goal. It’s art, for crying out loud. How can I not meet my goal?

I didn’t meet my goal this year.

What’s worse, I missed meeting my goal by 3%. 3%! That’s like, one student. One student! So now I’m over here trying to decide if I’m going to go back through my data and fudge my numbers or create an imaginary student who achieved an exceptional amount this year. Hey, if presidential candidates can win elections this way, I should be able to achieve my SMARTR goal this way. In case my conscious wins out, and I end up submitting my real data, I’ve already gotten a head start on my plan for achieving my goal next year.

My Plan For Achieving My 2015-2016 SMARTR Goal

  • Set the bar low. I mean, amazingly low.

Maybe I’m trying to measure too much. Maybe I’m expecting too much from my students. Next year, I’m setting the bar really low. Next year, I’ll measure student achievement by how many students are able to put their name on their work at the end of the year. 85% by the end of the year? That shouldn’t be too hard… um… on second thought… maybe not. I just remembered the insane frustration I felt last week when I discovered that not a single student in one of my second grade classes managed to put their name on their painting. Not a single student. Come to think of it, more students are capable of putting their name on their work at the beginning of the year than the end. I wonder what happens when your SMARTR goal percentages decrease throughout the year?

  • Insist that students show up for class on snow days.

I’ll also expect them to skip all assemblies, concerts, field days, field trips, and yes, even SOLs so they can come to art class. You want to know why I didn’t meet my SMARTR goal this year, Principal? Maybe because the class that I chose for my SMARTR goal missed 20% of their art classes this year. 20%! Now there’s a percentage for you.

  • Assign art homework.

Classroom teachers have SMARTR goals. Classroom teachers get to assign homework to ensure that student achievement is occurring. 2015-2016 will be the year of art homework! No, I don’t care about your dance class, Chinese lesson or the math homework you have. You need to analyze these five pieces of artwork and label the illusion of depth techniques used in each one. How else can I be sure you’re actually learning and achieving anything in my art class, huh?

  • Ask my principal to write an achievable SMARTR goal for me.

Watch as panic and confusion overtakes him.

Seriously though, one of the most frustrating things about being an art teacher, or a “specialist,” if you will, is the discrepancy between being told we’re all equals, and the reality of not being treated as an equal. We’re expected to meet all of the same requirements as classroom teachers, attend all the same workshops and meetings, meet all the same standards for student achievement, and yet, we aren’t given the same time or resources as classroom teachers.

It was a requirement in my school this year that all teachers’ SMARTR goals be math related. Um, except for you specialists, because, um, you’re different. All teachers are expected to attend staff meetings and CLT meetings, even you specialists, because all teachers are equal. All teachers are required to learn the information being presented during this workshop, even you specialists, because, again, we’re all equal, therefore we’ll have subs available to cover classrooms during the workshops so all teachers can attend one of the sessions, except for you specialists, the subs aren’t available for you, so you’ll have to get the information on your own time.

So in conclusion, equal means different, but also the same, and if you don’t have your SMARTR goal in by the close of business on the Friday following a span of two months in which you only saw your SMARTR goal class twice and have yet to have time to deliver the post-assessment within the given time frame, that’s going to be a problem.

Now excuse me while I go and finish inputting the data for the new student who just joined the fourth grade class into the spreadsheet. Do you think John Smith is too obvious a name?


5 Annoying Things Parents Say and Do At Art Shows

We had our pyramid art show last week. One of two I’m participating in this year. Maybe. If I get my act together for the second one. For those of you who are unfamiliar with “pyramids,” as I was up until about 5 years ago, here’s how it works. I work for a county wide school system. Within the county, we have regions. Within the regions, we have pyramids. Each pyramid consists of a high school, a couple of middle schools, and a handful of elementary schools. In our county, we have annual pyramid art shows (not individual school art shows as I was familiar with in the past). The shows are usually held at the pyramid’s high school. Get it?

But none of that is really relevant to this post, except that it will help you to understand the context of the content below. Regardless of the details of the art show, all art shows have one thing in common. Parents.

5 Annoying Things Parents Say and Do At Art Shows


1. “My daughter has had a piece of work in this show for the past three years. I don’t know why you didn’t choose her this year.”

Yes, but, your son has work on display, which is why you’re here, right? So…

2. “Do you work here?”

Hmmm… I’m sorry, what? As in, do I work here at this school, or do I work here at the show, which doesn’t really make sense, because none of us are really working right now, I mean, we’re not actually getting paid for this… Are you wondering if I’m a teacher, or a volunteer, or maybe you think I’m a high school student (yes, even at my advanced age, it still happens)? Did you not see my special art teacher t-shirt, or my school employee badge? What exactly is it that you want to know? Ohhhh! You need help. Well, sure, I’d be happy to help you. First off, “Do you work here?” is not a very polite way to approach someone. Why don’t you try this thing called common courtesy and start with an, “Excuse me,” because, believe it or not, I was actually engaged in a conversation with my colleague here. Next, try a “Can you help me?” That way, I know whether you’re looking for directions to the bathroom or you’re going to complain about the ridiculous way the show is set up before I admit to “working” here. Or not, depending on where you’re headed with this. What? You didn’t find that helpful? Oh, fine, the bathroom is around the corner on your left.

3. “But how come she has a 3 in art?”

Thank you for coming out tonight. You must be so proud to see your daughter’s work in the show. She worked really hard on this particular piece, and I wanted to acknowledge her effort here tonight. If you have any questions about her grade, you can email me or set up an appointment to meet with me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, this man needs help finding the cafeteria.

4. “I’m not surprised you picked my child’s work for the show. You should see the stuff he makes at home. Everyone in our family thinks his spin art is great”

I’m sure they do.

5. “I can just move this over here, right?”

Of course you can! I’m so sorry we placed that other artwork so close to your child’s artwork. Please feel free to move it out of the way so you can get the perfect picture. I would hate to have some other child’s work clutter up your photo. Would you like me to adjust the lighting for you too?

What annoying things do parents say or do at your art shows?