Professional Practice

8 Things Art Teachers Hate More Than Glitter

Glitter can be the worst. It gets everywhere and it’s hard to clean up, plus it never goes away. Just like glitter, the things on this list can ruin a perfectly good day for an unsuspecting art teacher.

spilled glitter

8 Things Art Teachers Hate More Than Glitter


1. Last Minute Requests

It’s the Friday before winter break. All your classes are happily working away on your carefully planned activities. Life is good. So, of course, when your next class is dropped off the conversation goes like this:

Teacher: “Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask you, could you work on some winter decorations with the kids for their play?”

You: “Sure, that sounds like fun. When’s the play?”

Teacher: “Tonight.”

You: ……………

2. Class Field Trip (Surprise!)

Ah, that special moment when you discover you’ve been frantically setting up for a class that isn’t coming. The teacher forgot to mention they’d be at the science museum instead of in art class. Who doesn’t love to spend 20 minutes setting up and then taking down supplies that no one will use?

3. Creative Scheduling

Sure, all teachers understand maximizing each minute for student learning, but it’s led to some “challenging” schedules. My favorite example? The time I noticed that transition time had been left off of the new schedule. I thought my principal would fix it in a hurry when I pointed it out. Nope. This time was needed in English Language Arts block. Maybe the scheduling committee thought that the physical time it takes for classes to walk from point A to point B would just disappear.

4. “Recess Feet”

sweeping up dirt

“Nice,” you think. “My class comes to recess right before art. They’ll be relaxed and ready to focus after having time to play.” Wrong! Not only will every disagreement from the playground continue in your classroom, but they will also literally bring the playground to art – on their feet. Dust, dirt, mud, mulch, snow and sand. At least, you’ll get extra exercise constantly sweeping.

5. Teachers Who Treat You Like Their Personal Supply Closet

You know this has happened to you:

You’re in the middle of a great lesson when there is a knock on the door. You kindly stop what you’re doing for what must be an important interruption (because teachers are professionals who respect each other’s instructional time) only to find that Mrs. Smith needs green paint or Ms. Adams wants to “borrow” 18 sheets of black construction paper. Arrrrgh!

6. Holidays

Nothing ruins a great week like a holiday. The kids are working, everything is fine, but when a holiday looms, suddenly it’s all they can think about. The combination of excitement and disengagement can be a force of nature that makes the best of us want to run and hide.

7. Things that Clog

clogged paint

Glue, paint, spray fixative – any art supply packaged in a bottle can and will clog. This might be livable if it only happened once in a while, but we all know it happens with alarming frequency, and always at the worst possible time.

8. The Shirt

Oh, Old Navy. You had no idea what you were getting yourself into when you implied on this ill-conceived toddler t-shirt  that the arts weren’t a valuable career option. The art teachers of the world united and let you know what we thought about your design.

Teaching art comes with all sorts of minor annoyances. However, when we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, we realize we have the best job in the world. Remember, while glitter can be the absolute worst, it also can add just the right amount of sparkle.

What do you hate more that glitter? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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.


Melissa Purtee

Melissa Purtee is a high school art educator and a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about supporting diversity, student choice, and facilitating authentic expression.

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