MANAGING THE ARTROOM
One of my main goals in life is to get organized! I teach a beginning art class in a large public high school.
My class is designed to introduce
students to a variety of art forms, and
while I enjoy the variety, I find that it
challenges my organizational skills
to the max. My classroom is average-sized and at times it seems to be overflowing with art materials. My nightmare is that one day my door will fly
open and all of the artwork and the
mess that accompanies it will pour
out into the hall for everyone to see.
I started by looking carefully
around my room. I still had magazines
out from the collage unit, newspapers
from the papier-mâché unit, and there
were looms and yarn everywhere.
I decided to pack up everything in
boxes. Nothing would be left sitting
out, except for what I needed that day.
The “Nothing” Approach
I’ve tried and tried to get organized
but it always seems to be just beyond
my reach. This year, while we were
weaving, I discovered what being organized could be like. My classes were
in the middle of their weaving projects
when my boss came in to “observe”
me. When we were discussing my
observation, she suggested having
nothing out except what I absolutely
needed for that project. Nothing. It
sounds so simple, but that one simple
suggestion changed everything for me.
on every cabinet and stored in every
available space. It was the most organized I’d ever been.
When my students arrived after my
organization was complete, I made
a huge discovery; my students were
calmer, worked harder, got more work
done, and took better care of the materials than when the room was disorganized. My reorganization had effects
on my class I had never envisioned. It
sent a message to my students that I
My reorganization had effects
on my class I had never
envisioned. It sent a message to
my students that I was serious
and ready to work. It made my
expectations clearer to them.
was serious and
ready to work.
It made my
clearer to them.
became a much
My goal now is to be this organized
with every project. It’s more work initially, but it’s worth it in the long run.
I know I have a long way to go, but I’m
going to do it! My new motto is “An
organized life is a better life!”
I had two large, deep cabinets. I knew
the looms wouldn’t fit in them easily,
but I cleaned
them out and
the looms in
until I found a
way to fit them
all in. Amazingly enough, I could get the looms in
and out fairly easily and sort them by
Once the looms were put away,
everything fell into place. I stayed late
for several days until everything was
packed away. Now the only things
out were what we needed for weaving, nothing else. I had boxes piled up
Kay Stephens is an art teacher at George
Washington High School in Danville,