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How to Reclaim Your Time as an Art Teacher: Creative Solutions for Busy Educators

How to Reclaim Your Time as an Art Teacher: Creative Solutions for Busy Educators

Written by:
Evan La Ruffa
Sep 18, 2023

Are you an art teacher who feels like you’re always short on time? If so, you’re not alone. Many art teachers find themselves struggling to keep up with the demands of their job, leaving little time for anything else. Especially when in major urban public school systems, art teachers are often the only arts teacher in the school.

This can be isolating, and make you feel like you have to do it all yourself.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are a number of things you can do to reclaim your time as an art teacher, and now that you’ve found us at IPaintMyMind, you’ve found a support system! In this blog post, we’ll share three creative solutions that will help you get back on track.

So if you’re ready to take control of your time, read on!

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Bring Art Lesson Plan Support Resources Into The Fold

Lesson plans don’t have to start from scratch, in fact, there are plenty of amazing platforms that offer cool solutions – from online workshops and courses perfect for older students, to lesson plan supplements, and diverse artist learning guides that inject new energy into an art class.

It also means you have fuel for other classes, especially once you find a sequence of lesson plans that feels good to you and helps build upon the things your students are learning.

The IPaintMyMind Lesson Plan Book provides not only diverse artists to learn about, it also has age-specific lesson plans and accompanying worksheets. For just $49, it’s an incredible way to plan your entire school year, even if you work with students at very different ages and levels.

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Insist On for Time Self-Care and Professional Development

Just like when they tell you on the airplane, you have to put your mask on first, and then put on the mask of the young person with you. This is exactly the same when it comes to your wellness, mental health, movement, and mindset. To be able to give all you can to your students, you need to be able to recharge and come back fresh. Whether yoga, cardio, simple stretching, or sitting on the couch with a bag of potato chips, you deserve some time to unwind. Don’t skip this step!!

It can also be hard to find worthwhile professional development opportunities, especially when you’re so short on time as it is. Think of visits to museums and galleries as PD. There are often awesome art collectives that offer workshops on certain techniques, eat those up whenever you can. This will help you stay connected to the vibrant and ever-evolving nature of any local art scene, and you’ll surely be energized by it. In this sense, you feed your knowledge as an art-lover, making you all the more able to get kids excited about making too.

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Map The Year Ahead

Whether it is preparing for an art show or putting together your curriculum for the year, breaking down the project into smaller, more manageable steps can help you to complete it without feeling overwhelmed.

Mapping the year in advance so you know what’s coming up can really help reduce the dread of feeling unprepared. Your plan will surely change, but this will give you a rudder that can help make the year feel more predictable.

For example, if you are working on a curriculum for the year, break it down into quarters or months. Since art teachers we work with see their students on all different types of schedules, we tend to point them to the 3 Phases of Learning within our Art Lesson Plan Book, because it gives guidelines that will give you ideas on how to move through them in accordance with your particular class schedule.

 

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Make Use of Technology to Save Time

There are a number of productivity tools available that can help you optimize your schedule and get more done in less time. Some of these tools include task managers, calendar apps, and online resources. By using these tools, you can make sure that you’re making the most of your time and getting everything done that needs to be done. 

At IPaintMyMind, we love Calendly because it helps us schedule meetings and call with partners so much easier. As an art teacher, you are likely familiar with the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the various threads of working in a school. 

Another approach is to use online resources instead of traditional resources. For example, instead of going to the library to research an artist or project, you can use Google Scholar or another online resource.

You can use Canva (another huge favorite of the IPMM Team) or another online tool instead of creating it from scratch in Photoshop. You can also use online tools to manage your lesson plans and assignments (like Google Classroom or Schoology).

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Say No Sometimes!

One of the most important things you can do as an art teacher is learn to say no when people ask for your time. If you are constantly saying yes to requests from colleagues, students, parents, and others, your schedule will quickly become overloaded and unmanageable – especially as one of or the only Art Teacher in the school. 

So learning to say no is crucial for maintaining your sanity! We affirm you!

Of course, this isn’t always easy – especially if you are a people pleaser like me! But there are some strategies you can use to make it easier:

  • Set boundaries ahead of time by letting people know what times/days are off limits for meeting requests
  • Offer alternatives – if someone asks for a meeting that doesn’t work with your schedule, suggest another time/day that does work;
  • Keep your responses brief – don’t feel like you need to explain yourself in great detail
  • Be assertive – don’t hesitate or apologize when saying no; just state firmly that you are unavailable.

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Ask For Help & Delegate

One way to reclaim your time as an art teacher is to find volunteers for easily repeatable tasks. Maybe there are parents who have time to volunteer or a way to get younger kids excited about helping during free periods. Whether cutting paper, apportioning art supplies, or helping clean up after school, not putting it all on our own shoulders is a start!

If you have a good working relationship with other teachers at your school, see if they’re willing to trade duties or cover for each other when needed. Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of teamwork to make things run more smoothly!

If you want to reclaim your time as an art teacher, put these tips into practice. You’ll be surprised at how much more free time you have to enjoy the things you love most.

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Written by:
Evan La Ruffa
Sep 18, 2023