Art teachers experience an unusual dynamic in the school culture because we are labeled as; "extra-curricular," "electives," "specials," etc. and it is sometimes a battle to win the respect of the "core academic" teachers, not to mention the occasional student who thinks art isn't a "real" class. Art is often viewed as a "fluff" class, where people assume the students are merely there to socialize while they play with paint and clay. I have found that most people do not realize just how academic visual art is! On this page, "Faculty Respect," you will find various comments from several teachers dealing with this subject. Most importantly, an art supervisor, Jan Stephens, describes the administrative policies she helped art teachers write to guard against the kind of situation described by this elementary art teacher. The following comment came to me via email:
An elementary art teacher asks:
"I've been trying to think of a classroom management/discipline question for a few days. I'm coming up blank. I'm in my third year and I feel pretty confident about my student classroom management system. It's the other teachers in my school that cause me grief. As a new(ish) art teacher, my biggest struggle is feeling that the other teachers don't take my class time seriously. I imagine that this is something everyone deals with. They see art as their "break" time not as my instructional time. If there is a school event that conflicts with their art time they think that I should escort their class to the event. But then their students miss art all together and their class is off my lesson track by two weeks! I have make-up class time build into my schedule but they find ways to abuse it. Last year, one teacher came to me and said she needed to re-schedule her art time for a day earlier. I happily made the adjustment and saw them one day early. The following day (at their normal art time) a sub dropped her class off again. She knew she was going to out and rescheduled to avoid missing her "break". I make-up classes that I'm not required to (classes missed on Holidays) and I make-up classes that I miss when I am out sick (my school doesn't provide a sub). At my school, I sense that their is resentment from the classroom teachers towards the "others". They seem to think we have it easier than them or that we aren't working as hard. I'm not sure how to change their attitude. Somedays it is really exhausting being the outsider at work. I'm very grateful to have a full time art position with great students, a fair schedule, and understanding administration. I welcome ANY advise on navigating classroom teachers to a positive view of my art time."