Dear New Art Teacher,
Hey. I am so beyond excited for you to join this crazy art teacher world- a place full of color, kids and spills aplenty. I have been in teaching for over a decade and here is some advice:
You are learning alongside the kids. You will probably learn more than them.
This job is crazy and every single day you will learn so much. Every decision informs you, whether it is letting a kid go to the bathroom, debating if you will encourage color blending or an emphasis on line, or even calling out sick or not. You will learn from each decision, if you are reflective and paying attention.
Take a risk
A big part of being an art teacher is reminding children to take risks and learn and grow with mistakes. Remember to do this for yourself too. Sometimes you might even feel compelled to try a lesson over again, while you are performing live, teaching in that moment. Try it over! By modeling that you have made a mistake and having the courage to try something new is an inspiration to all your students and allows you to grow too.
Ask for help
Don’t be embarrassed when you do not know how to do it on your own. There is so much to learn and know and the most successful teachers are the ones who ask for help. This year I had a very complex lesson that I tried out with my kindergarteners and I was nervous. I was reflective and then realized that it wouldn’t hurt to ask my administrators for some support on that day. They sent me a substitute who just so happened to be available and I was thrilled to have the extra set of hands! Years ago I would have hesitated to show that I needed help, now I realize it’s smart to show that honesty and just ask!
Take care of yourself
Being a teacher is hard. Make sure to take care of yourself whether it is making your own art, sleeping more, eating healthy food or whatever! Your students will suffer with a burned out teacher….make sure to arrive ready and healthy.
Find inspiration wherever you go
You might be out and about and suddenly stumble upon a mug that will inspire the most amazing sculpture project, or watch the sun set and create a new painting project. Leave your art teacher lenses on always!
And remember, there is a big wide world of art teachers and we love to help each other….so just reach out if you need anything!
Alexandra from Art is Elementary