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Alas, I have had the same experience, especially when I have
substitutes. I have resorted to having everything not in use, locked
up. I only put out the supplies that will be needed for that
specific lesson or day. Really important supplies are checked in and
out. I give very stern lectures about the expense of Prismacolor
pencils and art gum erasers.
Some of the 'use-it-and-abuse-it' attitudes I run into from the students are
incredible. They always ask if I pay for my own supplies. I answer that I am
given an allowance, just like them, and when the supplies are gone and
the money is gone, we are done doing fun projects. I also tell them
that, yes, I do spend my own money to provide special supplies, like
Lava soap, so that they can really wash their hands after an oil
pastel project. I work hard to make my students realize that over
250 students a year have to use these supplies; not just them in one quarter class.
I also melodramatically tell them that abusing the supplies is like
abusing me. This works only when one has good rapport with the
As for substitutes, if I know the person and trust them, and the
project in progress is 'sub-friendly' then the kids can work. If the
project is difficult to supervise, then the students watch 'art'
videos. I then lock EVERYTHING up before the sub comes into the
If anyone has any suggestions for other ways to operate security in
the art room, I'd love to hear them also.
23 years of teaching art
and still learning!
> I am having some trouble with students who steal or break or damage the art
> supplies. I have had two substitutes this year and when I returned, the
> room was a terrible mess. Rulers were bent, erasers crumbled, colored
> pencils broken... I feel like taking everything away from the students. I
> can't punish specific children because I never know who did it. My
> students are 7th, 8th, and 9th graders who seem to be quite irresponsible.
> Does anyone have experience or advice in dealing with this problem?