Friday, May 1, 2009


Christian got some fluke of a stomach bug yesterday, and I left work early to get him and wait for Chris to come home early so I could go back to work for the evening for the first annual carnival. By the end of yesterday, I had driven 120 miles total (30 each way). I was planning on leaving work early today (Friday) for a doctor's appt way up in Scottsdale, but due to Christian's recovery (he's doing fine) I decided I needed to stay home today until it's time to leave for the appt. I feel terribly guilty about it.

And I'm trying to figure out exactly where this burnout is coming from? Anyone with an IQ that adds up to a reasonable earthquake knows that teaching 9 grades a discipline involving numerous supplies and projects (and practically a $0 budget) can lead to burnout. Not only that, but trying to run a household and be a good mom along with the teaching demands is a given to fill a plate and then some.

But that isn't the end of it. Along with the basic teaching and family life, comes district politics, meetings, school politics, etc etc. Yeah, you can just imagine. And in a profession that is heavy on the estrogen, you can imagine the, um, how do I say this on a blog that I'm trying to keep rated PG? Let's just say there should be a law that limits t
he amount of women that can work in one place. (Okay, maybe a law would be a bad idea. Hair salons would be in demand for a lot of flamboyant men hairdressers to fulfill the male quota, and in rural areas or the South, that would be a problem. But in places like LA, San Francisco and New York, the law probably wouldn't be an issue. )

I have to say, I love my students. Yes, even the kindergartners. (They're too darn cute.) Therefore, I'm pretty sure the students ar
e not really contributing to the burnout. I think the amount of them are. And when there are some teachers that just see special area teachers as "babysitters" and don't pick them up on time or generally appreciate what we special teachers do, that is a contributing factor. Plus, when there are discipline issues, there is frustration when it feels as if we teachers are not being supported. We teachers of the arts (music included!) are constantly having to justify our discipline and programs. People still don't see the importance of the arts! But oh, sports are the golden road to heaven! Please.

Which leads me to another frustration: If a student is a good athlete, it's AMAZING how when they are a discipline problem how it's danced around to make sure they can still play. I'm so sick of sports
promoting such hypocrisy. I could go more in detail, but again, I'm trying to keep this blog PG-rated.

Another one of my theories to the burnout factor? I don't like disappointing people. I have a horrible case of "not-selfish enough" in this area. Oh, don't get me wrong. I know how to say "no". I just hate disappointing people! Some people honestly don't care if they disappoint people or not. Trust me, there are some colleagues that don't care. And if more people would be less selfish, many of the world's problems would be eliminated! But in this case, I'm too worried about making sure I don't disappoint anyone. Therefore, it throws some unfortunate side effects:
  • Paranoia that I am seen as a "problem".
  • Worrying that I'm not doing enough.
  • Feeling as if I'm not taken seriously.
And then comes the frustrations IN the classroom. But these I knew I signed up for and while they're frustrating, they're no surprise. It would be like a cop that's frustrated that there are so many thugs out there. It's what they signed up for.

And it is nice to collaborate with other art teachers (in real life or online) and find out I'm
not alone. The blue areas are taken directly from a website that has become my best friend and I agree with wholeheartedly. I could have written them myself!

(for the original link to these that includes more pet peeves, click here I took just a few, but there are certainly loads more that I say AMEN too!)
  • Students who waste paper and throw their art away.
  • Students who don't show their artwork to their families. It usually ends up in the bottom of their desks or in the garbage.
  • No matter how hard we promote, display, and teach, the budgets given us for our classroom are ridiculous. (or in my case, you don't even know WHAT the budget is! You put in your supply request, you don't know what has been ordered, when it was ordered or if it was even ordered!)
  • When students do their artwork and then leave their mess for me to clean up as if I were their mother. (Thankfully, this is less of a problem this year. But don't get me wrong, it's still a problem.)
  • Students who tear down or vandalize art work that is the hallway. (I won't hang artwork in the hallway anymore because of this... )'
  • The day you start painting with watercolors, they turn off all of the water in the building. (this happened once!)
  • Students who still don't understand that a painting needs to be painted--in other words, a student who paints a beautiful alien and says "I'm finished", when all I can see is the vast expanse of white paper left around the alien!! (Word. I get a lot of groans and moans when I send the white paper back with little Mary or Johnny to continue and I give suggestions hoping they'll use them or my suggestion will inspire them to do something they came up with.) And this pet peeve yields this one: Students whose un-finished artwork is "good enough".
  • My biggest pet peeve about being in art education is that the so-called "regular" classroom teachers routinely refer to me as "JUST the art teacher" (Of course this opinion is often shared by colleagues who think that sports are the cat's meow, and when there is a discipline problem, there is a feeling that it "doesn't count" if the problem happens in my room.)
  • Anyone who thinks I just teach kids how to draw. I teach reading, writing, math, science, history, world cultures and religions, geography, spelling, craftsmanship, visual and verbal expression, symbolism, recycling and reuse, aesthetic perception, research, personal and collective responsibility, technology, cooperation and kindness all within my art classes.(nothing more to add there. Amen, sistah!)
  • People who say, "It's only art how can you fail?" "You should get an "A" for trying." "Take art, its an easy "A". "I came everyday, I should at least get a "D". Needless to say, the students who fail, don't come to school or do anything, right? Oh yea, the parents all have degrees from the finest art schools in the country.....


  1. I am sorry that you are filling the "burnout" I know it gets that way at the end of the year. Gary has 19 school days left , how about you? I guess to help with all of your "worries" you can just quit for next year and stay at home like me, have a baby and be poor. It is always a wonderful option. I love you and I wish I could lift some of your burdens:)

  2. Hang in there!! It sounds very frustrating.