Professional Learning

Course Recommendations for Blossoming Art Teachers


I’m always impressed with art teachers who start investing in their careers early. It can make a tremendous impact over the years. And, while it’s easy to feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water during that time, we know there are teachers who take on the challenge. And really, it can be the perfect time to jump right in!

teacher reading book

In 2017 alone, 25 percent of AOE’s graduate students had zero to five years under their belt. So while our courses are designed for teachers at any stage of their career, I thought it might be fun to share a few particularly useful courses for newer teachers.

3 AOE Courses Perfect for Blossoming Art Teachers

Below are three of our courses perfect for blossoming art teachers. Download the following PDF and dive into more detailed information below!


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1. Designing Your Art Curriculum

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Designing Your Art Curriculum is AOE’s most popular course of all time, so it’s no surprise it’s the top pick of beginning art teachers, too. When I first started out, I was coached to, “create my curriculum as I go,” but in retrospect, that was horrible advice!

While some believe you need a few years of teaching experience before you even consider writing your own curriculum, I couldn’t disagree more. Why would you want to spend time creating and designing lessons without a big picture or vision for your art program at the core? This feels like time wasted. Instead, I would encourage art ed newbies to tackle this course right away.

During the course, you’ll walk through designing curriculum for one grade level or course you teach. By taking a deeper look at exactly how to do this, you will finish the course with the tools and processes to develop the rest of your program and review it in years to come. With this big-picture plan in place, the time spent searching for lessons and creating instructional materials can be purposeful from day one.

2. Managing the Art Room

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The ebb and flow of an art room can make or break even the best art teacher. Classroom management is often taught in undergraduate programs and modeled during student teaching experiences. However, there is no time like those first few years to hone in on what you are doing well and which areas need improvement.

This course examines a wide variety of different management systems and philosophies so teachers can create a program to meet their individual needs. And, class discussions revolve around management topics that actually apply to art teachers… like how to handle the sink (or lack of a sink!), routines and procedures for specific media (like clay), and tips for teaching specific age groups.

Best of all, the camaraderie in this class is unparalleled. Teachers have the time and the space to ask questions and troubleshoot solutions with experienced instructors and like-minded professionals. If you have a specific problem, you will find an audience of caring, experienced art teachers to help you find a solution.

3. Studios

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There are two reasons why studios are and should be a top pick. First, they help bolster teacher confidence in a particular medium. For example, I explored a wide variety of media as an undergrad, but when I got into the classroom, I became aware that my fibers skills were lacking. I scrambled to learn from veteran art teachers in my district, attended conferences, and even read books on fiber arts. All this to make sure I was able to use this medium in my classroom. I would have killed for a class devoted to fiber arts instruction!

Second, AOE’s studio courses feed our “Artist-Teacher” soul. They are created specifically for art educators with a one-of-a-kind design. You will find just the right balance of “get your hands dirty” making and “improve your practice” instructional techniques in each of our five studio classes. You can create a series of your own work and create samples for your classroom. AOE’s studio courses are truly the best of both worlds! Check out the teaser video, linked below, to get a taste of AOE Studio classes in action.

If you are at the beginning of your art education career and looking for a way to network with like-minded professionals, sharpen your skills, or feed your soul, I would highly suggest taking a look at AOE’s course offerings. We would love to have you in class!

Did you take classes at the beginning of your career?

Have you taken an AOE class? What did you think?


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.


Heather Crockett

Heather Crockett is AOEU’s Chief Academic Officer and a former AOEU Writer and art educator. She is an expert in differentiation, curriculum development, and assessment.

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