I've been teaching elementary art for 6 years now and as I look back
now, these are some of the things that I wish I had been more prepared
1. How important it is to have a strict set of rules and a discipline
policy in place and set up the 1st day your students walk in the room.
In general, ideas and specific examples of discipline problems that may
arise and how to deal with them. I felt I had all the art theory and
lesson ideas down but spent my first year learning for myself what works
and what doesn't work. It was sink or swim. It would have saved me much
time and energy (and headaches!) if I had known some of these things
ahead of time.
2. It also would have been helpful to be made aware of the inner
workings of a school and school system. I seemed to know all about how
an art dept. should run but was very "illiterate" about PSEA, Union
stuff, all the various committees, inservices (Act 178, etc.), credit
unions,etc.. What specifically is the superintendent responsible for,
the assistant sup., principals, and vice principals, etc? These seem
like common second nature things to me now but at the time, being fresh
out of college and only several years removed from highschool, these
things were very foreign to me. Maybe colleges teach these things now.
3. I would like to have been made aware of what resources are out there
for an art teacher. (This list would have been wonderful!) Magazines,
journals, NAEA, state art assoc, local, the various conferences,
colleges that offer Masters programs, art supply sources, grant sources,
4. The final thing I felt I was not adequately prepared for was the
basic mechanics of running an art room. Believe it or not, I was never
required to take a ceramics class. So when I got into my first teaching
situation, I had no idea how to run a kiln!! I pretty much avoided using
clay with my students until I could take a crash course on my own.
There were all types of supplies and tools in this new art room that I
had no idea what they were or how to use them. I think I've probably
done as much learning, or more, in my 6 years of teaching than I did in
my 4 years of undergraduate school!