(Left: Me, 2nd place Ugly Sweater contest winner Right: office secretary, 3rd place Ugly Sweater contest winner Note: Our coordinating outfits were not planned, photo taken prior to announcement of winners)
As an art educator, I am not in the habit of taking time around any holiday to allow my students to make presents for family members during class time. I have a curriculum to teach. Even during the December Holidays. I know, shocking, right? I actually try to teach my students things during the month of December instead of busting out the glitter and Popsicle sticks and allowing them to make cheesy gifts. In aggravates me to no end when classroom teachers expect me to be the gift-making shop around the holidays. In my opinion, it’s not my job. Take time from your instructional time and do it in your classroom, don’t expect me to do it in mine.
That being said, your previous art teacher set the precedent of coordinating her clay lessons to be ready to go home before Winter Break so students can give them as gifts, it might be a good idea to tell the new, part-time art teacher in your school. Don’t, for example, show up for class during the first week of December and ask if your 1st graders will have their clay pot finished in time for break. Chances are your art teacher will respond with a blank stare as she tries to control her internal frustration and slight panic as she quickly calculates how many art classes are left before break.
It would probably be in your best interest, as a classroom teacher, to inform the new art teacher of any project expectations with plenty of notice. That way, the poor art teacher can adequately plan for making the pots, allowing time for them to dry, fire the pots, have the students glaze the pots and then fire the pots once more, all in time for your precious gift giving tradition.
And furthermore, if you happen to be one of those art teachers who has set this sort of precedent, it wouldn’t kill you to fill in the new art teacher on any project expectations, such as clay gifts, that you have set up. Unless you want to be responsible for breaking the little hearts of the two groups of first graders who won’t be bringing gifts home to their families because their new art teacher didn’t know that she was expected to do this.
It’s been a long week, folks, a long week.