How I Survived My First Week Teaching Art


Well, it’s official. I have completed my first week teaching Primary School Art! And I am knackered. (a.k.a really bloody tired, for anyone new to that phrase) I have successfully taught 2 classes of 30 students of each year group from 1 to 6. The magic number there is 360 little monsters, of which I’ve learned 13 names and 9 faces. So, just 347 names left. (I shoulda taught math) Oh yeah, that doesn’t include the Staff… damn!

In this short little week, I’ve only had a few character building snags: I’ve taken the train in the completely wrong direction 25 minutes before I’m supposed to start on my first day, I’ve had a kid burst into tears when he met me, then proceed to cry for the rest of the hour. Another girl burst into tears when she finished her art work and I burst into tears while listening to the children in singing practice. I’ve also dropped all my photocopies like I was trying to make it rain in front of the staff room, and I’ve been called everything from Miss Tall to Miss Small. So, yeah… so far so good!

3 Things
I’ve learned this week that will save your sanity:

1. Be organised! Like actually. 
Plan ahead, I mean really really ahead. A year is good, maybe even 2. Ok maybe not 2 but at least 2 weeks.  You need to know where you want to take your kids artistically by the end of their year with you. (Also, this will help make big impressions on your fellow staff members and make them jealous they have to teach the boring stuff). Sometimes you change your ideas last minute, but you should try planning everything, while remaining flexible and adaptable. Prepare your supplies in advance and know what you need for the month (at least the week, c’mon, you can do that at least.)

2. Drink rivers of water daily. 
I dunno about you, but using my voice this much makes me parched as hell. I needed to quench my thirst like every other sentence.

3. Act like you know what your doing from the first millisecond. 
The kids will figure you out immediately. Even if you are brand new, never even taught a dog let alone a human, you gotta at least pretend that you know how to control your classroom. When you have their attention you can show them all the fun in art! My teacher voice was in full effect after the first hour and it worked. I’m pretty sure it worked.


As this was my very first week teaching art in a primary school, meeting all the staff and students, going through the daily routines, while trying to navigate myself around this surprisingly confusing square school, I think I’ve earned a pat on the back, and a well deserved glass o’ wine. Overall, I think this will turn out to be a fairly good year, with lots of experimentation, creative thinking (on the spot surely) and foot rubs from my boyfriend. Ahhh… what a lovely idea that is. Here’s to hoping the universe delivers again, and that I can actually creatively inspire 360 little people. Cheers! *Raises fish bowl of wine with a big smile*

If you would like to see what we made during this week, take a look at my Back To School Drawing Lessons – assessing your students abilities on the first day.

By the way, if anyone ever reads this and happens to have some tips on how to remember names, please let me know in the comments. My students will thank you (because I’ll likely forget your name).




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