Monday, August 22, 2011

Pros and Cons: Balancing the Scales of Traveling to Multiple Schools

Every job has its ups and downs, even if you feel like you’re a piece for dirt under a shoe, or left out of the important details.  With the arts and music being the first to be cut from most school districts, it appears as if we are not considered “part of the core curriculum,” when in fact…we are!

I wanted to list some pros and cons that have been faced before in many school districts.  If you have some of your own, please list them in comments!:

Negative: I’m on a cart, stuck in a closet, with no sense of space. 

Positive:  Yes, you may not have a room, and your storage closet houses your desk, but look at it this way!  A room takes much longer to set-up and take-down, or even clean up at the end of the day.

Negative:  I don’t feel like I belong with the other teachers.  They seem to cling together when talking about standard tests and classroom activities.

Positive:  It takes time to build lasting friendships with co-workers and other staff, and sometimes it may not happen the way you want!  Your job is to convince your fellow co-workers that you are worthwhile.  Talk about their students’ personalities and how it reflects in their artwork.

Negative: I keep tripping over my cart, and items keep falling off the cart! Arg!!!!

Positive: In the morning, try and leave some of the items you’re using with certain classes within their rooms…or make a trip back to your storage room (if you have allotted travelling time between classes).  That will save on the items falling off or breaking, but I can’t help you with the cart tripping…that’s just a convenient annoyance we must deal with!

Negative: The materials are too difficult to disperse in the classrooms!  The teacher just leaves no space for me!!!

Positive:  As said before:  Communication is key.  Let the homeroom teacher know you need the space, or you’ll place your items on top of their stuff. 

Negative:  No Storage for projects!!!

Positive:  True…but have you talked with the homeroom teachers about allowing some small space in their rooms to be used?  For example, the tops of closets/cabinets, or even by the window sill?  If not, talk with the administrator and ask for space in the school for certain projects that can be used temporarily.

Negative: I feel like I’m invading their room.

Positive:  True, but think of it from the homeroom teacher’s perspective…they feel like they’re invading your class as well.  This is when you work as a team.

Negative: I’m struggling with communication, I feel like I’m the last to know everything.

Positive:  Travelling from school to school?  It happens, but you can fix the important items, such as meeting dates and other important information.  Communicate with the administrators about keeping you in mind for important facts, and don’t be afraid to let them know when they’ve forgotten something.

Negative:  My car is an art storage closet!

Positive:  That can be fixed.   When ordering supplies from year to year, build up a collection of materials that can fit in your storage space, so you no longer have to carry it from school to school.

Negative:  It’s such a challenge to communicate with parents.

Positive:  I can’t lie, it is, but that doesn’t mean you stop calling them when you need to make that call.  Just find the time on another date (unless it’s urgent) and let the parent know your situation.

Negative: Disciplinary actions are hard to keep track!

Positive:  That’s another communication issue.  Discuss options with the homeroom teacher, but more importantly…call the parent!

Negative:  I always forget something at another school!!!!!

Positive:  I can’t help you there!  I do it too!  Just make sure you get to your school with enough time to pick the item up if you need to.

The list may be long, but there are also many positives to working in multiple schools, such as:

     -A chance to know the faculty at multiple schools, which is pretty nice.
     -A break from one school to the next
     -A hands-on chance to work out kinks in lesson plans
     -The district board members recognize your work and decorations more than most.
     -You brighten the students’ day when you enter the classroom
     -With good communication, you develop stronger collegiality.

And finally…why do you stay with your job? The wonderful look on the students’ faces when art class begins.


  1. Hey Heidi, I am studying this very topic for my PhD research. Would love to speak to you more.
    -Heidi Lung at