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[teacherartexchange] On a Cart

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From: Carol K. (chudrlik_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Jun 16 2006 - 08:43:56 PDT


Stacie,

I wish you the best in arriving at the decision that is best for
YOU. When I was student teaching I felt happy and excited teaching
elementary students – and sad and emotionally exhausted teaching
middle school. I have now finished up my first year of teaching
elementary school on a cart in 4 schools. It has been physically
exhausting at times, but I personally can handle that much more than
being drained emotionally. I think that if in several years I wanted
to transition to middle school (and I don’t think I will) I would
then be much more successful with that age group – having settled
into my own teaching personality & having improved my management
strategies.

Things I have discovered teaching on a cart:
• Organization is essential. (And things that another teacher does
to organize may or may not work for you.)
I make class folders out of 2 18 x 24 sheets of tagboard taped
together on 3 sides to store the artwork of one class – and I label
it with the classroom teachers name, class time & day of the week. I
have the map of the school and my weekly schedule laminated and taped
to my cart (this also helps subs). I put blue electrical tape on the
ends of my pencils so that they get returned. I write “Art” on my
scissors, my glue containers, magnets, etc. (One challenge of being
on a cart is that your supplies can get mixed up with the classroom
supplies if things aren’t labeled).
• Communicate with the classroom teachers. There may be a point in
the year when you can make connections to what they are doing in the
classroom. The classroom teachers also know their students the best
and can be very helpful in working with the more challenging
students. I also think that it is important to try to develop a
positive friendly relationship with the classroom teachers as early
in the year as possible because it makes me feel much more happy and
at ease when I enter the classroom.
• If there is another art teacher in the school with a room where you
will likely be going to get supplies / store your cart – communicate
with them. In considering accepting a position on a cart I would
want to meet or at least talk to the other art teacher because you
will need to communicate with them on a regular basis. This can be a
wonderful opportunity to share lesson ideas, successes, failures,
management strategies….
• Flexibility and a sense of humor go a long way.

I am really excited about next year – I will be down to 2 schools (3
days at one, and 2 at the other – no split days, which I don’t
like). Three days a week I will be at a small school where I am the
only art teacher with a room – and 2 days a week I will be on a cart
at a school that I have been working at this year & I have a really
good relationship with the full time art teacher there & learn tons
from her. I know a lot of people wouldn’t love that schedule – but
it is the right thing for me right now. Good luck finding the right
thing for you.

-Carol

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