Flowers wrapped in tissue, gift cards to the local coffee shop, and presents topped with bows march their way down the hallways throughout the building. No, it isn’t the holidays or everyone’s birthday. It’s teacher appreciation week!
Although this week is supposed to make teachers feel special, sometimes we as art teachers feel left out.
It’s hard to turn a blind eye to the classroom teachers being showered with gifts while we may only receive one thing from that extra thoughtful student.
However, I encourage you not to be discouraged by the absence of physical gifts. What we are doing for students is so important. We are changing lives!
So, in honor of teacher appreciation week, we decided to bring you some feel-good stories from the AOE team about the power of positive art teacher role models. Enjoy!
My Own Story
Back in Junior High, I was “that kid.” The one that loved art so much I convinced my vice-principal to exempt me from the “one semester of art per year” rule. I attest my love for art to my truly amazing art teacher. She was always kind and let us get creative beyond the parameters of the art projects. By the time high school rolled around, I even opted out of Trigonometry (imagine that!) just so I could spend more time with this art teacher in our Yearbook course.
Because of her, I knew teaching art was what I wanted to do after college. She changed the course of my life, and there is no amount of tulips or homemade cards that can ever express that enough (but hopefully she reads this article!).
From the AOE Team
“My high school art teacher was a huge influence on my life. He came along at a time in my life that was very tough and introduced me to the world of art. This world changed my life. In fact, it may have saved my life. It gave me a means of expressing myself and finding a safe place to escape the troubles that were occurring in my home. He was a kind man that was accepting of every student in the class. He gave all of his students nicknames that made kids feel important. I knew instantly that I wanted to be an art teacher to share those feelings with others.” – Theresa G.
“I loved my art teacher because when I got to spend time in the art room I was exposed to things I never saw anywhere else. A Dali poster hung in my elementary art room, and I swear it worked its way into many of my dreams and still does. The imagery presented there fed my soul. It made me imagine and convinced me I could create the world I wanted for myself.” – Lee H.
“My art teacher really helped me see that the arts were something I wanted to pursue my entire life. His course was in Color and Composition, and the assignments he gave us made me want to keep making more and more. I wanted to keep finding my own creative solutions to artistic problems. That one class and my teacher awoke my inner artist ever since.” – Matt C.
“My art teacher never said ‘no’ to me. She allowed me to take the most horrific ideas and go with them. I failed a lot, but I also learned a lot from trying those new ideas. By the time senior year rolled around, I couldn’t fit everything into my schedule and that meant not being able to take an art class. My art teacher worked with me and helped me become ‘the Art Teacher’s Aide’ at the corresponding elementary school. Although I didn’t get in an art class that year, I credit that experience for inspiring me to become an art teacher.” – Abby S.
So don’t let a lack of appreciation get you down. Keep in mind that you might be creating some future art teachers just by doing what you’re doing. That’s a better gift than anything that may end up on your desk! You are amazing!
Are you a product of an art teacher? Share your story in the comments below!
What’s the best teacher appreciation gift you’ve ever received?
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.