Professional Practice

Exclusive New Episodes in the Art Room Only an Art Teacher Would Understand

sculpture making on floor

The long-awaited first season of Only An Art Teacher is now available on all streaming platforms! Life in your art room is fast-paced, messy, and ever so colorful. It makes for great TV—or at least for lots of laughs. Browse the episode summaries below for an all-too-familiar look at what goes on in art class.

only an art teacher graphic

As an art teacher, chances are you’ve seen these episodes play out in your art room. Grab some popcorn and enjoy this selection of relatable action!

Episodes Involving Your Materials

Episode 1: The One Where Your Students Draw Too Hard

Your class is tackling another drawing exercise. Yet again, you repeat your class drawing mantra, “Draw light until you get it right!” After instruction, you release students to work, fearing the inevitable but hopeful nonetheless.

Find this episode relatable? Listen to “Exactly How Do You Teach Drawing? (Ep. 257)” for ways to teach drawing skills successfully.

Episode 2: The One With the Interminably Dirty Floor

Art teachers discuss all the shapes and sizes of art room floors, including the dreaded carpeted floor. The conversation covers tips for decorating art room floors with various art materials and concludes with a list of creative ways to make it up to the custodial staff after oil pastel days.

sculpture making on floor

Episode 3: The One Where Your Students Ruin Their Paintbrushes

No matter how you go about demonstrating, your students still need to remember to store their paintbrushes bristle side up. To motivate them to do better and follow the procedures, you collected the damaged brushes to distribute for painting today.

Episode 4: The One With the Love-Hate Relationships

Explore various art materials with which art teachers like you have a love-hate relationship. First up, glue bottles. Are they beneficial or a necessary evil? Then, touch on glitter. Is the mess worth the stress? Find out what other art teachers think!

Find this episode relatable? Leave these tricky relationships behind by going digital! The Digital Mixed Media Collection in FLEX Curriculum will get you started with no glue or glitter required!

Episode 5: The One With Constant Art Funerals

You abandon your colorful uniform and wear black for yet another art funeral. Today you will lay to rest all of the artworks that still don’t have names despite your many made-up songs. Just last week, you sent some exploded ceramics pieces to “Clay Heaven.” So much death and tragedy!

artwork with no name

Episodes Involving Your Colleagues

Episode 6: The One Where Your Students Leave for Testing

You’ve heard it all: standardized, language, cognitive, and makeup testing. A test for this and a test for that. Somehow, testing always is scheduled during your “non-essential” class time. Today, you will advocate for your class and request that testing be rescheduled for another time.

Find this episode relatable? Learn how to stick up for your art program and develop other art teacher-leader skills in the Building Leadership Skills as an Art Educator Pack in PRO Learning.

Episode 7: The One Where You Have All the Extra Responsibilities

Art teachers compare schedules and detail the responsibilities that fall on them that have nothing to do with teaching or making art. Outrage builds as they compare the hours they spend on extra tasks and strategize solutions to present to the administration.

Episode 8: The One Where You Create Everything Artistic

It’s the day of the school musical, and you are not stressed out of your mind trying to finish props and backdrops in time for the show. Though you supported the theater department as you were able, you maintained your boundaries and outsourced tasks to competent individuals. It paid off!

art cart

Episode 9: The One Where Your Art Room Is the Local Store

8 a.m.: The lights are on, and the store is apparently open. That one persistent customer is back requesting green and brown paint, brushes, water cups, and paper. At least they didn’t send their students in the middle of class again. You are going to have a chat with the offender.

Find this episode relatable? Review some tips in Challenges and Solutions: How to Work With Difficult Colleagues as the Art Teacher before having a hard conversation.

Episode 10: The One Where Everyone Wants Your Job

Art teachers swap stories about the times they have heard how desirable their job is because “it must be so easy.” Then, they imagine what it would be like for any of those people to do their job and predict how long they would last.

student on platform

Episodes Involving Your Students

Episode 11: The One Where It Was an “Accident”

It’s a typically busy day in the art room. You are rushing around, passing out materials, answering questions, and getting visual aids up on the projector. Then, through the din, you hear chilling words, “Ummm, Teacher… It was an accident!” You whirl around to your worst nightmare.

Find this episode relatable? Listen to the merits of messiness and organization in “How Much of a Mess Do You Tolerate? (Ep. 037)” and pick up some tips for the “accidents” in your room.

Episode 12: The One Where Your Students Ask Why They Have To

Today, your students try your patience with their natural curiosity. They decide to question everything you ask them to do in art class: Are they done yet? Why do they have to clean the floors? Why do they have to take an art class? Redirecting them to the work at hand takes all of your energy.

Episode 13: The One Where You Try Non-Artmaking Assignments

Laughs and headshakes ensue as art teachers disclose the “academic” assignments they tried to scaffold to support learning in their classes. More often than not, students responded to these efforts with comical dismay and dissent.

Find this episode relatable? How to Teach Self-Reflection, Critiques, Artist Statements, and Curatorial Rationales Like a Pro provides a practical pocketbook of non-artmaking processes to enhance instruction and student-centered learning.

students writing

Episode 14: The One Where Your Students Ask You to Draw Something

It happened again. Your carefully wrought project sample is causing drawing envy from your students. This request is the fifth time a student has asked you to draw a dog for them—at least just the shape, please! Once again, you must convince them they can do it by themself.

Episode 15: The One Where Your Student Brings Art From Home

Art teachers tell heartwarming tales of the trinkets and treasures they receive from students who can’t get enough of them and their art class. Drawings of all shapes and sizes with sweet messages appear, and nary a dry eye remains among the teachers.

Find this episode relatable? Fill up on encouragement by reading why students love you in What We Love About Art Teachers, Why They Are Important, and Why Art Matters.

For more relatable stories from the art rooms of real-life art teachers, check out the Day In the Life (DITL) of an Art Teacher on YouTube!

Doubtless, you laughed out loud at the reflection of your art room portrayed this season. You deal with interminably dirty floors, unprepared and uninformed coworkers, and sassy, questioning students. The best way to handle all that comes your way is to simply step back, enjoy the humor in it, and get back to your Oscar-winning art teacher life. After all, you are the star of the show!

How have you found humor in your art teacher life lately?

What outrageous episodes would you add for next season?

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

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

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