6 Things Art Teachers Love to Hate That Aren’t So Bad

Some things irritate just about every art teacher. Did your students forget to wash out their paintbrushes? Are all the Sharpies missing again? Did someone seriously just step on an oil pastel? We’re certain you could add to this list of nuisances, but instead, we’ll provide you with a different list. Instead of dwelling on the less than perfect daily occurrences, we’re giving you the silver lining.

Here are 6 things art teachers love to hate that really aren’t so bad.

1. Comic Sans

If you have any background in graphic design, the sight of Comic Sans probably makes you cringe. Even worse is when a student turns in an awesome design and slaps Comic Sans across the image. You can practically see all happiness leaving the room. Okay, enough with the drama. Although, Comic Sans isn’t the most loved typeface we can’t blame creator Vincent Connare forever. Here’s why.

comic sans

Did you know about 15% of the population has dyslexia? Typographers have designed typefaces to help aid those who struggle with the disability, but those are not always readily available to users. Surprisingly, studies suggest Comic Sans is one of the best fonts for those who struggle with dyslexia. So maybe this universally unpopular font isn’t so bad after all.

2. Mechanical Pencils

Picture this; a student pulls out a beautiful drawing they’ve been working on, you turn to admire and then you hear a few clicks of a pencil. You stop the student immediately because they can’t ruin such a wonderful drawing with a mechanical pencil!

mechanical pencils

Okay, maybe this exact scenario hasn’t happened, but the mechanical pencil is an unpopular material among art teachers. But, is it really that bad?

Sure, it’s not the best for adding in tones and values, but it does mean students don’t have to use the pencil sharpeners. Or, have you ever had students who struggle drawing lightly or making fine lines? Mechanical pencils are perfect for this! A mechanical pencil doesn’t allow the same amount of pressure as a regular pencil, which makes it easier to erase. The next time a student enters your room with a mechanical pencil, remind yourself of the positive qualities it does have.

3. Chalk Pastels

chalk pastels

Maybe you don’t like the dusty mess chalk leaves behind or the sound it makes as you use it. Understandable, but you can’t deny the beautiful results it can yield!

Students can easily manipulate and blend this material to create a variety of effects. So instead of disregarding them because you don’t like the way they feel, think of all the amazing work your students could be creating! If the chalk dust is a problem try soaking the pastels in sugar water. It can decrease the mess while creating even more vibrant results.

4. Field Trips

Have you ever waited for a class to come to your room only to find they are on an unexpected field trip? You’re upset because your plans are ready and now the class will be behind. It makes your schedule a mess. But in all honesty, is it that bad to have an extra class off for the day to catch up on a few things? We think not. Consider it a gift!

5. Professional Development Meetings

Stabilo pens

We’ve all been there, sitting through another professional development meeting that doesn’t apply to the art teachers. It’s frustrating because we could be spending our time in more useful ways. Some of the non-applicable PD meetings can be rewarding because it finally allows you to sit and plan your calendar, catch up on some emails, or all of the other computer work you’ve been putting off.

6. Inappropriate Student Comments

Does this scenario sound at all familiar to you? You finally have the attention of the entire class when suddenly, a student blurts out the strangest comment. Everyone is staring at you in silence waiting for your response. You stand there laughing inside your head thinking, “What in the world just happened?” You try to put on a strong face, but it turns out you’re just as immature as your students and cause the entire class, including yourself, to erupt in laughter for a solid five minutes. Those were five valuable minutes of teaching now wasted, but sometimes it’s the best to just laugh it out with your students!

There will always be things we like and dislike about teaching art. Sometimes when we choose to dwell on the negativity, it only makes for a less joyous classroom experience. The next time you find yourself hating something in the art room try to look at the positive, and find its silver lining.

What’s one thing you love to hate that’s actually not so bad?

What’s one thing you’ll never be able to learn to love?

Abby is a middle school art teacher in Omaha, NE. She focuses on creating meaningful experiences for her students through technology integration, innovation, and creativity.

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  • Paige Bacon

    Abby,
    Sequins and beads everywhere on the floor. It takes forever to clean up but really it is not that bad. Luckily I have had a method to clean them up that works great for awhile now. I made my own dust cloths and my students use their “speed broom” to get them into the dustbin quickly and the abandoned beads and sequins go into the classroom supply donation bags for students who need a little more time to finish their projects.

  • William

    Straight glitter. ‘Nuff said.

    • Heather

      One of my students this year referred to glitter as the herpes of the art room!

      • William

        That’s hilarious!

  • Victoria Wolford

    Students coming by in the middle of a class asking for poster board and supplies to make their poster for another class…..ugh. We don’t stock poster board. I learned the hard way about lending supplies that never get returned – now I ask the student to turn off their phone and leave it in my cupboard, to be retrieved when they return the supplies. So far I’ve gotten everything back!

    • Bob

      That is golden! I need to remember that one.

  • Bob

    When I was in high school I had three years of drawing class. We used mechanical pencils almost exclusively. You just have to remember that you can get mechanical pencils in some pretty thick lead sizes, and lead as hard or soft as in regular pencils.