Celebrating the Many Hats Art Educators Wear

Debi wearing a beret

Several years ago, I watched someone give a creative speech about the various metaphorical hats teachers wear throughout a typical school day. Of course, my brain went right to the enormous number of hats art teachers wear every day. Let’s take a look at just a few. Join in the fun and share a metaphorical hat you may be wearing!

10 Hats Art Teachers Wear


Debi wearing a beret

Let’s start with the most obvious. Every art teacher undoubtedly wears a beret since every art teacher is an artist. The beret is the hat that sits on our heads throughout the day and actually, throughout life. Let this hat be a reminder that you should find the time to practice what you preach daily.

Baseball Cap

Baseball brings to mind home runs, strikes, and the occasional shouts of, “Safe!” or “Out!” yelled by the umpires. Our goal is to remind our students that our room is a safe place to work so they can continually hit home runs. It takes a lot of hard work and practice to make the major leagues, so the baseball cap is one we should often be wearing.

Cowboy Hat

Debi wearing a cowboy hat

Cowboys herd cattle and keep them fed and safe. The sheriff might even come to town to remind folks that he’s in charge. Let’s face it, we do these things, too. But, being in charge doesn’t mean we micromanage. Instead, we give everyone in town a job to do and then we run our town fairly. We act as art guides, showing our students the way to success.

Chef Hat

Debi wearing a chef hat

Art teachers are always cooking up delicious and creative lessons to take students’ learning to the next level. Not only are they teaching, but they are also teaching a diverse group of children with various learning styles and learning needs. Differentiation is our middle name. So as we measure our ingredients, we consider how to prepare the best lessons for each child and then we serve it and watch them eat it up! We create YUM fun learning that nourishes the souls of our kiddos.

Construction Hat

Debi wearing a construction hat

We are building our students’ self-esteem constantly, so a construction hat is something we wear more then we think. Construction hats come with suspension bands to protect the head from falling objects, too. So depending on how crazy your lessons get, this could come in handy as well.

Beach Hat

Every art room is a place of sunshine and happiness for our students, so it makes sense we would all wear beach hats throughout the day. This is also a fun reminder that vacation days are always in our near future.

Top Hat

Debi wearing a top hat

Sometimes we have to be more formal in our instruction. We have to present information and teach our kids to take notes and be deep thinkers and learners. Our top hats are worn sporadically. Thankfully so many days are studio days where we can take off our top hats and just let our kiddos explore and experiment.

Detective Cap

As teachers, we often wear detective caps because we are continually investigating creative ways to better teach our kids. But we also need to remind our students to wear their detective caps, too. We must remind students to investigate, research, and solve the challenges posed by the lessons. We call it “artwork” for a reason, so we have to remind our students to work through some of the tough questions.

Derby Hat

The Kentucky Derby is not only known for its horses, but also for the big, beautiful hats that adorn the heads of spectators attending Churchill Downs. These hats are symbolic of high society and celebration. Since art documents our world, we need to teach students that art is created to be exhibited and museums and galleries are places to view art. We also need to remind students the artmaking process should be celebrated as much as the final works.

Party Hat

Debi wearing a party hat

Art teachers are the perfect people to wear a pARTy hat daily. We celebrate students’ creativity and also celebrate big when they master the technical skills that help bring their visual stories to life. So make sure you are wearing your proverbial party hats on a regular basis! In fact, why not invite students to create their own party hats in class and then have an art pARTy to celebrate their hard work?. It would be a blast!

Wear your hats proudly. You deserve them!

What metaphorical hats do you wear on a daily basis?

Are there any hats you think are crucial for art teachers to consider wearing?

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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