How to Resuscitate Your Love of Teaching Using CPR

student working

I love the possibilities found in a brand new year. I feel fortunate to call myself an art educator. However, with all of the extra “stuff” we get inundated with, it’s sometimes hard to carry the enthusiasm of the new year all the way to summer. Worse yet, all of those extra “things” add up and take away our energy from what really matters, our kids!

So let’s consider how we can breathe new life into our pedagogy and keep the fire burning all year long for our students and ourselves.

Let’s consider a CPR of sorts: Commitment, Passion, and Reflection!

Through commitment, passion, and reflection, we can begin resuscitating the love we once had in our teaching. Let’s take a closer look at each.


To me, commitment means dedication, and I cannot think of any group more dedicated than teachers! Think for a moment about all you do to better yourself for the sake of your students. Even reading this article shows a commitment to learning something new!

There are many ways to commit to your practice. Find something that feels right to you and jump in with both feet! Maybe it’s finding some exciting PD to reinvigorate you; maybe it’s dreaming up an out-of-the-box project, maybe it’s trying to make more personal connections with your kids. Whatever you choose, making an intentional commitment to something will keep you motivated!

pencil drawing of dove


One way the dictionary describes passion is a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” Other definitions allude to enthusiasm, excitement, and the willingness to give time and energy to something.

My advice is to figure out what drives you! Think about what brings you absolute JOY in teaching and bring more of that into your classroom.

Personally, art ed has become my number one hobby. Other than my husband and my daughter, it is my life’s passion and greatest joy!

So, what do we do with all of this passionate commitment? Well, that’s where the essential component of reflection comes into play.

person journaling


Thinking deeply about your practice is a great way to remind yourself of why you became an art teacher.

If you need a boost, choose a prompt below to think or write about. You might be surprised at what you discover!

  • Choose one particular student and reflect on a single interaction you had with them. Did you make the child’s day brighter? How so?
  • Reflect on how you taught a particular lesson. What elements, media, and art history lessons did your students learn?
  • Consider how you gave feedback to a student when they asked you about their work. After all, our kids trust us to teach them how to tell their stories visually. It can be scary to invite a viewer in for a closer look via their craft!
  • Reflect on how a student felt over the course of creating a piece. How might they have felt during each step from start to finish?
    student working
  • Reflect on the fact that the vast majority of industries are looking for creative thinkers. STEAM isn’t going away! How are you preparing your students?
  • Reflect on the fact that students spend a ton of time interacting with highly-visual social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. We live in a visual culture that is here to stay. It’s a new world, and it’s arts-based! How exciting is that!? How could you capitalize on this fact in your art room?

Finally, reflect on the fact that without the arts, we would all be, quite literally, naked on a beach. Art is everywhere. It’s everything. It’s the clothes you’re wearing, the car you’re driving, the building you’re in, the books you’re reading, the chair you’re sitting in, the toothbrush you used, the cup, the spoon, the EVERYTHING – WOW!

It’s safe to say the art room is the most important room in the school building. How can you use that fact to advocate for quality art education across this nation?

Committed, passionate, reflective art teachers use art to change lives. This year, consider how you’re breathing life into your students’ learning. How are you planning to fuel them to make their own marks on the world?

Robert Frost once said, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” Through CPR, go and AWAKEN your students and see how commitment, passion, and reflection change the way in which you view your profession. I hope it will make you remember you have the best job in the world!

How do you keep your passion for teaching going strong?

What things zap your energy the most? How do you combat them?

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.


Debi West

Debi West is one of AOEU’s adjunct instructors and a former AOEU Writer and NBCT art educator. She loves sharing with others and enthusiastically stands behind her motto, “Together we ART better!”

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