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26 Fantastic A-to-Z Reasons to Be a Thankful Art Teacher

With your hustle and bustle art teacher lifestyle, it’s easy to lose sight of why your job is fantastic. Your to-do list is never-ending, and there is always one more glue bottle to fill, paintbrushes to wash, or a passion project to get around to. It is a good idea to take a break from all that running around and remember why you are thankful to do what you do.

paper plates with paint

Think about the many things that make your life as an art teacher a little easier, funnier, and more meaningful. Here are some of them, from A to Z!

1. The Art of Education University (AOEU)

If you are reading this, you may already be familiar with AOEU’s mission to grow amazing art teachers. If you are not, check out 6, 12, and 16 below for a few of the valuable resources AOEU offers teachers like you!

2. Blick Art Materials

Art suppliers like Blick, Prang, and Sax have you covered when it comes to quality art supplies. For wishlist items or art room basics, tried-and-true brands are a hassle-free way to get the materials you need.

3. Creativity

At the heart of everything you do in the art room, where would you be without creativity? You use creativity every day to bring the best art experiences to your students. In turn, you are rewarded with seeing their creativity. It’s a wonderful cycle!

student painting on large paper

4. Dollar Stores

It always helps to save some bucks on supplies you purchase for a last-minute project, to supplement a limited budget, or to set up a new system in your room. There are so many dollar-store arts and crafts items you can find an innovative use for.

5. Elements of Art

Foundational in making and looking at art, the seven elements make great curriculum building blocks and help to develop valuable visual art language. Embed them into all of your lessons and pair them with personal artwork connections for the best results.

6. FLEX Curriculum

A flexible curriculum aligned to all 50 states’ art standards and the NCAS, FLEX includes all of the lesson plans, resources, videos, assessments, and artist bios you will ever need. Use FLEX to curate a curriculum that meets the needs of you and your students. Fill out this quick contact form to learn more!

7. Gallery Exhibits and Art Shows

Although they may feel like the bane of your existence while you are prepping and setting them up, there’s no better way to showcase what you and your artists can accomplish.

students looking at art

8. History of the Visual Arts

Learning about the techniques and visions of past and present artists sparks imagination and new ideas in elementary and secondary students alike. Make personal connections to bring art history to life.

9. Instagram

Where would you be without this social media platform that feeds your inspiration and allows you to connect with other artists and teachers who do what you do? Keep looking for exciting artists and teachers to spark more ideas. Follow AOEU on Instagram for the latest updates in art education and prioritize time to Make Art With Us!

10. Janitors

If you’ve heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times as an art teacher. Make friends with your janitor, cleaning, and maintenance staff! Today is a great day to let them know how much you appreciate everything they do for you.

11. Kid Keepsakes

That pretty leaf, sparkly bead, and notebook paper drawing of you as an art teacher are all ways your students let you know they love you and you are teaching them to find the beauty in life. Display their gifts in your classroom in a fun way.

student exemplar

12. Lifelong Learning

Whether experimenting with a new technique, reframing your teaching approach, or brushing up on the latest education research, you constantly exercise your brain muscles. AOEU courses can help you continue learning with other like-minded art teachers.

13. Markers

Thin tip, broad tip, inexpensive, or high-end markers are art room staples. Never underestimate the versatility and simplicity of using markers. They work well for a range of quick and easy art lessons.

14. Nature

Nothing is more inspiring than sunlight dancing across a lake or the vibrant colors of wildflowers in a field. Your students will enjoy capturing the wonder of artists like these. An added bonus is it will help with their well-being along the way.

nature

15. Organization Hacks

An organized classroom is a successful classroom. You may be an organization pro or only have aspirations. In either case, these hacks will get you well on your way. Just remember, everyone has a unique way of corralling the chaos.

16. PRO Learning

No more marginally applicable PD for you! Instead, utilize AOEU’s professional learning platform, PRO Learning, to dive into a wide variety of art education topics, complete with video tutorials and downloadable resources. Learn from art teachers like you!

17. Quips & Quirks

You probably have enough material for a whole amateur comedy act thanks to the funny things you have heard and seen in your art room. These art teachers sure have! As an art teacher, you know it’s all part of the joy of the job.

18. Rainbows

Your close contact with creativity makes you just a little more colorful than some of the other teachers out there. Maybe that’s why art teachers love to bedeck their classrooms in rainbows and sport rainbow clothes and accessories!

rainbow classroom

19. Students

Your students make you an art teacher, and you love them for it! They push, challenge, question, encourage, admire, and inspire you daily. When it’s all said and done, the relationships you share with them are the reason you show up to work.

20. Teacher Besties

They stop in to check on you in the morning. They sit next to you at every PD. They match with you during spirit week. They know all about the rough day or week you have had. They are “your person” at work. Thankful is an understatement!

21. Upcycled Thrift Store Items

Grab some frames for the gallery wall you are dreaming of. Or snag a new wishlist piece of furniture for your classroom. Search for the perfect accessory your art teacher wardrobe has been missing. Other people’s “trash” is sure to be your next treasure!

22. Visual Journals

As a bell-ringer exercise, an early-finisher activity, or a way to support advanced artists, there is no limit to what you can do with visual journals. As you explore the possibilities, you may find yourself inspired to take up the practice alongside your students.

student journals

23. Water-Based Art Supplies

Imagine if all of the paint, markers, and inks you used weren’t water-based. What a nightmare! Media makers are getting the message and offering new water-soluble art materials to try with your students.

24. EXpression

Art class is the perfect place to express emotions, imagination, and creativity. It’s what makes your classroom such an enchanting place for you and your students. Schools need you more than ever!

paint splatter

25. YouTube

Do you want to flip your art classroom, find the perfect video to inspire your students, learn about the lives of other art teachers, follow a new art channel, or decompress with a dancing cat video? Say no more—YouTube is on it. For videos made for art teachers by art teachers, subscribe to The Art of Education University’s YouTube channel so you don’t miss a single episode!

26. Zoom

How would you have gotten through the height of the pandemic without it? And now, it has opened up a whole world of EdTech and technology integration that is bringing art education into the 21st century. To infinity and beyond!

With all of these reasons to be thankful, how can you not be inspired to keep doing what you do? To keep things in perspective, come back to this list or make your own when you are having a rough day. Take deep breaths. Now get back out there into the thick of it and do what you do best!

Which A-to-Z reason are you the most thankful for?

What would you add to this list?

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.

Mariana VanDerMolen, an elementary art educator, is a current AOEU Writer. She enjoys teaching for creativity, with a focus on ELL and therapy in a process-based art room.

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