What will the 2020-2021 school year look like? I hear this question every day while talking to art educators all over the country. Over the past few weeks as states, cities, and local school districts have begun announcing their reopening plans, teachers seem to have more questions than answers. I know I’m not alone in feeling that as a teacher living through a global pandemic, my life has been turned upside down. Back in March when my school district announced it was closing for the rest of the school year, I had to throw all of my lesson plans out the door and reimagine what teaching art to over 600 students would look like. To say that it was stressful is an understatement, and I know I’m not alone in having spent my summer hoping and wishing that the pandemic would magically disappear before the start of the school year. Yet the grim reality is that this pandemic is likely nowhere near over and what that means for art teachers across the country is still unknown. While no one knows what the “new normal” of teaching art has in store, most art teachers across the country are being faced with one of the following changes:
- Teaching Art on a Cart
In order to accommodate social distancing guidelines, or to keep students sequestered in their classroom all day to limit exposure, many art teachers are being kicked out of their art classrooms and pushed onto a cart. Anyone who has taught art on a cart before can tell you that it has many challenges (especially if your school has four stories with no elevators like my first teaching job!) Organizing supplies and student artwork will be one of the greatest challenges for teachers who are pushed onto a cart.
- Students Can’t Share Supplies
Almost every art teacher I’ve spoken to has been told that students won’t be permitted to share supplies next school year. For many teachers, especially public school teachers, who already have a very limited budget to buy art supplies, this task is seemingly impossible. Art supplies are costly and the price can rack up quickly–especially if you teach at a large school with many students. Figuring out where the funding will come from for individual art supplies is a concern for most teachers going into the new school year.
- Virtual Learning
Virtual learning has many challenges, as we all know after enduring three months of online learning to close out the 2019-2020 school year. But beginning the school year online has its own unique challenges. The beginning of the school year is when teachers build relationships with students and families. How will we get to know students and connect with families virtually?
These concerns are only the tip of the iceberg. All the teachers I know are concerned about the health and well being of their students, their colleagues, and themselves. Reimagining schools in a way that keeps everyone safe and provides opportunities for students to learn, explore, play, and create seems a near impossible task.
If you are feeling scared or anxious about what next year will look like for you, know that you are not alone. Display My Art is here for you. How can Display My Art help you navigate this uncertain time? Here are just a few ways:
- Fundraising, Fundraising, Fundraising!
If you’re wondering how you are going to have enough money to purchase individual art supplies for each student, Display My Art can help. Display My Art lets teachers choose their profit margins, with a suggested 40% profit from products that families purchase through your school fundraiser. A fundraiser through Display My Art can help you raise the funds for extra supplies, individual supply organizers, or anything else you might need to make your art room safer for students and teachers.
- Virtual Learning Ready
Display My Art’s digital art tool will allow students to create artwork and upload it directly to Display My Art
completely digitally–no art supplies required. Having taught virtually in a Title I school where many of my students didn’t have access to simple art supplies like paper or markers at home, I relied heavily on online programs that allowed my students to create artwork without any supplies. Digital art is a perfect fit for virtual distance learning and also helps students with digital literacy skills.
- It’s Easy!
Display My Art will make this school year easier by providing you with everything you need for a successful fundraising project. Display My Art provides teachers with markers and pre-printed paper with your students names to make the entire process a breeze. If you are teaching art on a cart and are worried about keeping student artwork organized, Display My Art’s pre-printed paper will make your life easier.
- Connecting with Students and Families
Connecting with students and their families at a distance is certainly going to be a challenge for teachers everywhere. Display My Art helps art teachers connect with their students’ families by providing the opportunity for families to have a lifelong keepsake with their child’s artwork. Display My Art will ship directly to family’s homes for free, giving families the opportunity to connect with your art program from a safe distance.
As an art teacher, I worry every day about how I will be able to handle the unique challenges that next school year brings. But if I’ve learned anything over the past few months, it’s that art teachers are some of the most resilient and resourceful people on the planet. The art teaching community is a special one and I know that together, we will get through this.