Art Teacher Talk

“The Art of Gratitude”

Classroom Management 101

As a High School Art Teacher, the number one question I get on a regular basis is, “How do you get such a consistent level of excellent work in your classroom?”

*Side Note: For evidence of this excellence take a minute and dial up our art room Instagram ( @mrs_tfox)

Back to the constant question…my answer is simple. A safe, encouraging community with an elevated expectation for excellence. “But how?”

The constant buzz in Education centers around “strategies” and “methods” for increasing student engagement, positive behavior and productivity.

Don’t get me wrong – there are definitely proven strategies that work almost 100% of the time (I have quite a few in my own bag of tricks.)

I have been planning this blog for months. In my head. Terrified. Unsure. Non-tech savvy.

My “Blog Mission”, if you will, is to help Art Educators create a classroom community where encouragement is the cornerstone and excellence is the goal. Not just for the teacher. For the students. Your kids will come in and thrive on the strive toward fabulousness. (Disclaimer: I will use the word fabulous a LOT)

This is the year of bottomless frustration…trying to come up with interesting lessons, get them uploaded, conduct captivating Zoom calls, send constant student emails, and fighting frustration when said emails go unread…

It seems endless. All of it.

The Eternal Question for 2021 is, “How do we keep these students plugged in and working hard when they are not in the room with us?”

There are a number of ways to create this encouraging, productive community, both in person and at a distance. (see link above). Today I will talk about one that works no matter where the kids are located.

Gratitude. The sincere kind. Not just empty words.

As I attempt to teach Drawing, Painting and AP Art with the same unbridled enthusiasm at a distance, I am realizing that one thing has not changed. My kids need to know how much I appreciate them and everything they do.

Back when they were in front of me (like a hundred years ago) I always made it a point to thank them constantly.

For their hard work.

For coming in on deadline.

For putting things away.

For being kind to each other.

For waiting while someone else finished a quiz.

For staying quiet so others could concentrate.

For coming to class on time.

But now they are not in the room…they are struggling to get out of bed.

I teach high school. These people are teenagers. They have a zillion things fighting for their attention.

Social media alone is threatening to take them down daily.

They are stuck at home with little to no intrinsic motivation.

They are lonely.

And yet they choose to do the things I ask of them. The difficult and time-consuming things. With excellence.

In case you are new to my art room, I expect a lot. My expectations have not decreased with the onset of distance learning.

I guess my point to this post is simple. Focus on what your students are doing well, or good, or at all. Tell them. Say it out loud on the Google Meet, or the Zoom call. Do a weekly (or daily) shoutout on your Social Media. It is helpful and encouraging both for them and for you.

Send some “Thank You” emails. Make a list of all the good things.

Thank them for coming in on deadline.

For their hard work.

For uploading work.

For taking good photos of their art.

For reading emails.

For returning emails.

For hanging on.

Thanks for stopping in, check back next week for another Classroom Management 101 installment.

If you visit the rest of my site (still under construction lol) or my IG @mrs_tfox or my FB Page Fox’s Fabulous Artists or my Pinterest MrsTFox Resources and you want to know more about a project or a process, we are on the ground floor of this weekly blog.

Any blog topic suggestions are welcome. 🙂

I don’t know if that’s even proper Blog Etiquette, but I guess there is no better person to ask than your reader, right?

Have a wonderful week!

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