Have you lost your Art Teacher Mojo?

By The Arty Teacher - August 5, 2018

It’s that time of year when Art Teachers around the world are preparing to go back to school.  On social media, it appears that some of us are looking forward to it more than others.  So what do you do keep your teaching fresh?  How do you stay motivated?  I posed this question to Art Teachers around the world, and this is what they told me.

Plan new work.  Teaching the same old stuff can make your teaching feel stale.  Don’t try and change everything but either make small changes or change a few projects that you teach.  This will keep your teaching fresh and you will pass this on to your students.  It may be teaching the same project but using a different artist as a starting point.  Katherine Campbell enthuses:

“Find what peaks your interest and attack it with most of your energy. I’ve been super into pour painting/exploring the creative process this summer, so I structured my classes to do the same. Making stuff and experimentation is what I’m excited about, so I want to share that with them, not elaborate data tracking or fancy displays.”                            

Get excited by looking on Instagram and Pinterest.  The beautiful things and numerous art teaching projects and exemplar work will soon get you motivated!

Organise some Professional Development.  Reinvigorating your teaching with new ideas can work wonders, and you’ll pass this enthusiasm onto your students. Jeanna Peña suggests:

“Plan your own PD! Don’t wait for your school/district to do that FOR you!!! So many opportunities are out there and networking with like-minded folks in the community, state, and even nationwide… is spirit lifting!!”

Speak to other teachers in person and on social media.  Knowing that other teachers sometimes feel the same can help.  Share ideas and resources.

Learn to say NO!  Don’t take on any more extracurricular activities than you know you can cope with.  Sometimes it’s the workload that can be overwhelming.

Read some inspiring teaching books.  I’ve just read ‘Mark. Plan. Teach.’ by Ross Mcgill.  It’s now stuffed full of post it notes of strategies I plan to try this forthcoming year, and I can’t wait to try them.

Have some arty fun yourself.  Hang out with an art teacher friend.  Visit a gallery or draw together.  Play with materials and have fun. Remind yourself why art is the best thing ever!

Could teaching part-time be the answer for you? This is not always possible but an improved work/life balance may be just what you need.


I have to add this comment that was put on Facebook in reaction to this blog post from Mark Williams:

“The only element that’s dissatisfactory in art education is the ‘education’ part – schedules, timetables, imposed behaviour management rules, imposed reward and sanction rules, imposed assessment and tracking rules, imposed marking schemes, imposed technology, imposed insets, pointless observations that focus on how well you impose the impositions, the saturation of pseudo-pedagogy, pointless ‘fresh & creative’ ways to rebrand tired and tedious old educational paradigms. Art itself is delectable, delicious, shiny and sweet and it manages to rear its diamanté studded head above the drabness, the grey, the repetitive, the drone of dreariness and be a beacon of beauty in a sea of banality. 
The archaic culture of schooling is what damages art. Art already knows how to be art. Art already tells us how to teach art. All is innate in Art. Hail Art!”

If you have any ideas on how to rejuvenate your Art Teacher Mojo please comment below.

Thank you to teachers on my facebook page The Arty Teacher and my group #ArtTeacherProblems for your contributions.


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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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