DEC – Dear First-Year Art Teacher… Advice and Resources from Veteran Art Teachers

Dear First-Year Art Teacher,

As we close out this crazy year, we wanted to leave you—our first-year art teachers—with a special note, crafted just for you.

Becoming an art teacher during the past couple of years was quite a unique experience! You may have started your art education journey excited to get into the classroom. Instead, a pandemic hit with school closures and virtual student teaching. Now you are in the classroom with real, live students for the first time! Classroom management is a whole different ballgame when you have thirty faces staring back at you instead of empty, silent, black rectangles on a screen. Supplies are overwhelming each period with prep, distribution, cleanup, inventory, and organization. How do you even get your class to clean their paintbrushes and palettes (the right way!) before the bell rings?

Rather than quoting a textbook or peer-reviewed article on what you should do, here is some tried and true advice from veteran art teachers who have been where you are. Let’s see what they have to say as we equip you with resources along the way.

  • YouTube mini-series
  • Landing page
  • Free resources onepager

Grace Over Perfection

It’s your first year! You probably started with overflowing enthusiasm to have your own classroom or cart, make everything Insta perfect, change students’ lives through art, and tackle every cool project you have ever seen on Pinterest. But perhaps, the biggest theme in the pool of advice we received was to be patient, slow down, and take your time.

What?! You are probably wondering how on earth can you slow down when you have so much to do? The first step is to realize that teaching is a marathon, not a sprint.

Here is how you can persevere and pace yourself:

  • Perfection is overrated.
    Nothing is perfect, nor will it ever be. There will always be something more you can do to make something better. While we want to continue challenging ourselves, we also need to make sure we are doing so at a sustainable rate. Andrea Tabor affirms that “your lessons do NOT need to be perfect” and Abby Webb recommends “developing one good lesson for each class you teach and then just get by with the other lessons. As time goes by, you will eventually have a whole year of really great lessons.”




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DEC – Dear First-Year Art Teacher… Advice and Resources from Veteran Art Teachers