With the focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education over the past decade, many people worry about the future of arts and humanities. Fortunately, there’s a growing movement to add creative pursuits back into the curriculum, adding an “A” to the abbreviation so it reads “STEAM.”
As the value of humanities and creative pursuits becomes recognized again, art teachers will become more important in helping right-brained students achieve their goals. Read about the exciting career of an art teacher, the requirements to gain certification, and the daily responsibilities of these education professionals.
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What Does an Art Teacher Do?
Art teachers do more than just offer drawing classes and watercolor paints. They teach creative concepts from basic skills to advanced knowledge. They educate students on art theory, visual communication and all aspects of creation from drawing and painting to sculpture, pottery and more. They help students to view art not just as a unique means of communication and viewing the world, but as an important coping skill with the difficulties of life.
In addition, art provides problem solving skills and outside-the-box thinking that can be helpful in other career paths. Studies indicate that students who excel in art are better at tasks like math and engineering as well. In many ways, art teachers help develop core learning abilities in their students.
Responsibilities and Requirements
The responsibilities you’ll fulfill as an art teacher depend largely on your field of focus and the grades you teach. You could instruct students in graphic arts techniques like drawing, painting, pastels, or production layouts. You might train students in computer art and graphics. You might educate them in practical arts like sculpture or pottery. Some art teachers focus on teaching art history and theory, giving the background and concepts common to various types of art.
To be effective as an art teacher you’ll obviously need a quick and creative mind. You’ll also need to be able to conceptualize ideas and see them through to fruition. You’ll need to be disciplined and organized, able to create lesson plans and follow them through. You will help students create and achieve goals. You’ll need communications skills not just to work with kids, but to collaborate with other teachers, parents and school administrators.
Teachers need time management, reliability, drive, dedication, organization, and commitment as well as cultural sensitivity.
Becoming an Art Teacher
Becoming an art teacher is a difficult path. You’ll first need to determine your specialty and approach to your craft. Then, you’ll need to look into your state’s requirements to get licensed and certified to teach. At minimum you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in education, complete a classroom student teaching internship, and pass a certification exam. You’ll also need formal education in your style of art (and possibly others). Many students seek a master’s degree in teaching following a bachelor’s in their chosen field.
First, however, you’ll want to know what the qualifications are for certification and licensure in the state where you intend to teach. Check out the resources we have available for state certification, and go from there!