10 Art Supplies to Remind You How Amazing Your Job Is

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Teaching children is one of the most important jobs in the world. Yet, teachers often feel underappreciated and overlooked.

As we begin the new year, let’s take a moment to reflect on our jobs as art teachers. It’s one that will have a huge impact on the future of our world. After all, to teach children is an incredible gift and privilege!

Below you’ll find some of the most common art materials we use in our classes every day. Each is paired with a metaphor to help remind us we don’t teach art; we teach children. They are meant as reminders to keep our eyes on what it truly means to be an art teacher. Here we go!

10 Art Supplies to Remind You How Amazing Your Job Is


Instead of thinking about clay as a substance formed in the earth and used to make sculptures and vessels, let’s remember it’s our job to mold the minds of the future. 



Instead of thinking about pencils as a piece of graphite encased in wood, let’s think about staying sharp and valuing the marks made in our classrooms.



Instead of thinking of Sharpies as a tool to add bold, dark marks to artwork, let’s remember how important it is to be life-long learners and hold onto a permanent love and passion for our kids and art education.



Instead of thinking of glue as the substance that causes so many headaches with clogged lids and gloopy messes, let’s ensure learning sticks for every child who enters our classroom.



Instead of thinking about the colorful splotches these sometimes leave all over our tables, let’s consider how we bring color to our student’s lives and teach them to make their own powerful marks on the world. 



Instead of thinking of these as cold metal tools, let’s think about how we might cut out the stuff that doesn’t matter and instead create a beautiful collage of all the wonderful things we do.



Instead of thinking about these as simple wax drawing tools, why not consider removing the wax from our ears and truly listening to our students? That can make all the difference!



Instead of thinking about how frustrating using rulers can be, let’s remember to measure the moments in these teaching experiences and to always measure up to what our students need.


Rubber Bands

Instead of thinking about how these clutter up our desk drawers, let’s remember it’s our job to tie it all together for our students and to be flexible in order to solve problems. 

rubber bands

Oil Pastels

Instead of cringing when we think about how to clean and organize these, let’s resist the notion that art is less important than other subjects. After all, we know the opposite to be true!

oil pastels

This list could go on forever. So, the next time you’re feeling down and out about teaching, try looking at the supplies in your room through a new lens. Consider the deeper meanings hidden in plain sight. It might just give you the boost you need and remind you; you have the best job in the world! After all, who doesn’t want to start a brand new year with a smile in their heart?

Happy New Year!

Looking for even more resources to help you love your job again? Hop over to the Curbing Art Teacher Burnout PRO Learning Pack. You’ll find specific ways to manage the ins and outs of teaching art, especially when the workload gets heavy.

What other art tools and media can you correlate with a positive metaphor?

What is the one thing you are most excited to teach this year?

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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