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How to Talk to Administrators & Parents About Your Art Program: AME 041


One of the hardest parts about being an art teacher is advocating for your art program. Feeling vulnerable to budget cuts, constantly aligning with new standards, accommodating everyone’s perception and expectation of what art should be can be very challenging.

Recently I asked the Sparklers to share what their biggest struggles are right now in the art room…I love questions like this because it really gives you insight on how people are feeling and what their current struggles are. And the most fascinating thing for me is that everyone can relate.

Today’s episode addresses three very common struggles in the art room: reduced class time, art project expectations and explaining or defending art techniques or art philosophies.

You may be surprised what all these struggles have in common and how to best eliminate them from your day.


  • Why one of the hardest parts about being an art teacher is advocating for your art program
  • Like children, no two art teachers are alike
  • How as a creative you do have the capacity to think outside of the box to solve problems
  • Why you should look at changing your perception of the problem – instead of battling the administration
  • How the amount of excitement you show will affect the engagement of the children
  • How your children are your advocates, and the way you talk to the parents through the art
  • Questions to ask yourself to help define your art room intentions
  • How your end-of-the-year art show will answer every question that parents and administrations have about your art program
  • How the Four Agreements have transformed Patty’s life

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Letter to a First Year Art Teacher AME 001

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz *affiliate link


  1. Yes, this talk is so relevant, hits the nail on the head! I have been frustrated as a first year teacher, and this talk is so real! Thank you for great advice and helping me regain a proper perspective for next time when management time overwhelms me.

    Fran Baldwin

    February 16, 2017

    • It’s all baby steps but once you know that most of the change is within you, that’s when everything makes sense. Thank you so much for listening. 🙂


      February 16, 2017

  2. I really enjoyed this podcast Patty. One piece that stood out to me was that each art teacher is different and will teach in their own way but they are all completely capable. I have four teachers at our studio that are very different from each other and from me in their teaching styles and methods but I love watching how each one reaches our students beautifully and I really need to impress this upon them more.
    Keep up the great work with your podcasts…I love listening to them!

    Rachel Alarid

    February 16, 2017

    • Thank you so much Rachel. I’m so happy that point resonated with you as I notice everyone trying to be someone that aren’t. There is only one you. Should be a motto not just for kids but art teachers, too!


      February 16, 2017

  3. I am an artist hired to be an art teacher. I have been doing it for 12 years.
    My school is adding on and I will be getting the old cafeteria as an art room. My struggle is the original plan for surfaces and equipment is now being cut. I am having trouble getting the admin to assist me in collecting used items in and around the school to put my room together.
    Your pod cast showed up on my email and the message was clear. I am the only one who will advocate for my art class. My fear in addressing administration was eased.
    I bought into to your curriculum because my school did not supply one. I love the curriculum and has helped me so much.

    Mary Watson

    February 16, 2017

  4. Thanks Patty this was excellent advice. I am in a unique situation because I don’t just teach art but run a small school for poor kids in north east India and have to navigate a whole host of different problems…art shows? Nobody here considers art a teachable subject, draw the human body, they probably would ask why we do art at all?! But everything you said is extremely relevant and I can apply it in so many different areas in my school, so thanks! I even showed my local teaching assistants yesterday the video on how to double load paintbrushes from your Monet bundle. What fun! Unlike other teachers they have no idea how to have an opinion and I have to drag their feelings out of them, but hopefully they learned something!

    PS I think your presentation is great…congratulations!

    Celia Fisher

    February 16, 2017

    • Thank you so much Celia for sharing what your experiences are teaching art. What you are doing is monumental and little by little we can impact children. What a unique opportunity you have to bring out a child’s creative spirit.
      Thank you so much for sharing.


      February 16, 2017

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