No One Told the Art Teacher…When Kids Miss Art

Here’s the scenario. You are sitting in your classroom before students are scheduled to enter, patting yourself on the back because for once, you were actually ready for your class. You are all set up, supplies are out, and you even had minute to take a deep breath and think about how you will present your lesson and hook up the projector- You are feeling like a rockstar! The class is a few minutes late, and you begin to wonder. Five minus pass.. Nothing…

So you begin to wander down the hallway to the office or teachers lounge, asking around, only to find out that class went on a field trip, had a college visit today, or is out at an assembly.

No one told the art teacher! 

You sneak back to your classroom. You are frustrated no one failed to communicate with you, sad the students lost their art time and secretly happy that you have an extra 30 minutes to get something done…. (Can I say that?) Does anyone know what I am talking about?

Only an art teacher can understand how it feels to be in this situation.

Even if the event at hand was on the school schedule and you missed it (I’ve had this happen a few times), I always liked the common courtesy of my colleagues to let me know what was going on during the day. More often than not, we can be forgotten as an integral part of a student’s day at school, and when we aren’t treated as such it can make us feel as though our subject isn’t valued.

So, what can you do about it?

The best solution is to be very proactive and advocate. If you notice something on the schedule, contact the appropriate parties and ask more questions to find out how art class will be impacted. Sometimes administration also doesn’t think about things like assemblies always being a on a Friday so the same kids miss their special, or the same kid missing half of art for a band lesson every single Wednesday, etc… We must be our own biggest advocate to really help others realize how detrimental it can be when students miss art class and to make the objectives you must cover and report out on very clear to everyone. We aren’t just making potholders here, people! Report cards are coming up and students have artwork to complete and assessments need to be completed. Sometimes just this reminder takes people by surprise and they feel instantly bad. Sadly, so many teachers FORGET that art is even graded. Don’t let them forget that ART MATTERS!

What sticky scheduling situations have you been involved in? How do you handle it?

We’d love to hear from the secondary teachers as well? Do students leave early for sports or college visits? 

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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