Teaching art is one of those, ” I can’t believe I get paid for this” sort of experience. I love, love, love my job. The title, Art Teacher, makes me a bit giddy. I have an enormous amount of freedom in what I teach, when, how and with what materials. I love this. But in order to keep my sanity, I need to change a few things.
Resolution #1. I will prepare. Unfortunately, that freedom translates into lack of structure quickly. Planning lessons, printing and even purchasing supplies at a 24 grocery store all in the wee hours of the morning has to stop. So many ideas, so many plans, so many possibilities. This year I resolve to plan ahead, prepare well before class, even follow the syllabus I turned in last year. What a concept.
Resolution # 2. I will have pretty hands. This completely vain and self centered resolution is important to me this year. As an artist, my hands have always been my tools. I abuse them to no end. Who needs pliers? Who takes the time to remove hours worth of papier mache class residue? I will. I will use the pliers, put on the gloves, take care of my hands….so that, when I am helping a sixteen year old girl with beautiful nails I will not be engulfed by the green monster.
Resolution # 3. I will not take it personal. I teach high school students for part of the day. Some of these kids are “too cool for school” and especially art class. Asking them to get as psyched for a project as I am is clearly asking too much. Asking them to complete a project will be enough, I can’t make them love it. I spend way too much time trying to appease these tough cookies. Time to teach the lesson, and move along.
Resolution #4. I will slow down. I get excited about projects. I just love the messy creative process and end up spilling my thoughts all over the place before the class is on the same page. Slow down. Talk slower. Ask for questions and ideas before telling them all my thoughts. Breathe.
Resolution #5. I will ask for help. I will stop being so nice. My classroom is on the third floor of an ancient school house. This translates into 6 flights of stairs, plus an extra flight of stairs to get to my side of the building. My storage room is in the basement, and during the day I have to switch classrooms to the 2nd floor for a bigger space. Since I teach sculpture, the projects tend to be large and messy which equals to dozens of trips up and down the stairs carrying supplies and awkward pieces of wet art. I will ask for help. All those teens can take a little field trip down to the basement at the beginning and end of class and I will stop being a martyr, albeit a very fit martyr.