Professional Practice

What Is YOUR Most Embarrassing Art Teacher Moment?

My eyes cracked opened from the dark place I had just been. I felt dizzy and disoriented. I tried piecing thoughts through my head, but I couldn’t seem to make sense of anything. My eyes landed on the phone which was dangling from its cord off the desk. I remembered something. I was trying to make a call. There was someone important I needed to talk to. But all I could remember was pushing every number on the keypad with the palm of my hand before the darkness hit. My body was pulsing with heat and sweat as I slowly became aware of how hard and cold the tile floor was. I looked off to my side and that’s when everything became quite clear: twenty-four little bodies standing with messy paint brushes in their hands all with looks of alarm on their faces.

I had fainted in the middle of teaching a lesson.


Embarrasing Moment


You don’t wake up in the morning planning for something embarrassing to happen at work. I certainly didn’t wake up thinking that I might faint during the middle of a lesson that day. But we’ve all been there and faced our own moments of embarrassment: one large tear in your pants, paint spilling down the front of your blouse, throwing up in the middle of class — the possibilities for embarrassment are endless. In the moment, it’s awful. You want to find the nearest rock to climb under (or in my case a desk). But in the end, it’s a story you laugh at and share with your friends in the teachers’ lounge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t just skip to the end. Instead, my embarrassing moment began with a drying rack.

I sat in my chair drinking cold orange juice and munching on the crackers the nurse had brought to me. It seemed as if the news that I had fainted had spread like wildfire throughout my building before I had even really fully recovered. I leaned back and watched some of my fellow colleagues wrap up my lesson while I recounted the story one more time to the nurse.

We had been in the middle of a painting lesson and I was moving quickly around the room pouring more paint. My pace and attention were working against each other. I took a corner too fast and snagged my ankle on the corner of my metal drying rack.


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I could have fallen over right there because the pain was so intense. But, the kids hadn’t noticed and I was trying to save face. So, I just kept moving. I remember feeling light-headed, and I remember trying to dial the nurse on the phone. But, by that point I was too far gone and the next thing I knew I was waking up on the floor behind my desk.

I earned myself quite a reputation at work that day among staff and students, even among those that didn’t see it happen. Luckily, it all worked out in the end. I was no worse for the wear and we all got a story out of it. Today though, it remains my most embarrassing work-related moment.

Now it’s your turn to divulge that embarrassing moment you’ve been holding on to!


What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you in the art room?

Did you overcome the embarrassment and embrace the moment? How so?


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.


Jennifer Borel

Jennifer Borel is one of AOEU’s Adjunct Instructors and Academic Advisors and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She runs her own photography business and is passionate about students exploring the medium.

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