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Career Story: Art Teacher In An Elementary School

Art Teacher In An Elementary School

Job Title: Art Teacher

Type of Company: An elementary school in a rural setting three miles from the nearest town. The school is a Federal Title I school which means that we have a large number of underprivileged students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Education: BS, Art Education, East Carolina University •• MA, Art Education, East Carolina University

Previous Experience: I planned to be an art teacher from the time I started college. I took off a few years from teaching and worked in a real estate office and opened a boutique sewing shop prior to returning to education.

Job Tasks: I teach visual art to 650 elementary kids following the standard course of study in 45 minutes classes, 6-7 classes per day. My schedule (along with the schedules of the physical education, media, computer, and music teachers) is driven by the need for regular classroom teachers to have a 45 minute break every day.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love working with children and teaching them new things and seeing them discover their inner creativity and the joy of creating.

The worst part is having to teach so many classes in 45 minute segments. Talking about art and creating art doesn't fit well in short time slots. The students are herded in like cattle. I teach the best that I can in the amount of time that I am given. My philosophy is that quality is more important than quantity.

Job Tips: Tip
1. Know your subject well. Tip 2. Be extremely organized. Tip 3. Promote your program. Tip 4. Love children. Tip 5. Stay fit so that you have plenty of energy because you will be on your feet all day. Tip 6. Be creative with supplies because money is always an issue in schools. Tip 7. Integrate the natural environment into your art lessons as children are fascinated with nature and its inhabitants. Tip 8. Remember that all other subjects are inherent in visual art, so you will be teaching the whole child.

Additional Thoughts: Go for it. Teaching is a rewarding career. Teaching art to elementary school children is a demanding and tiring job, but rewarding in so many ways. Children learn quickly, are quick to compliment, quick to hug, quick to forgive: all things that will make you feel like a celebrity. You need to be kind, understanding, motivated, quick thinking, versatile, creative.

I've worked for myself in my own business and in a real estate office. The pettiness that pervades elementary education is most unpleasant.

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