Davis Desk

Teaching from Home: Keeping Yourself Motivated

By Barbara Place, posted on Jul 15, 2020

These past few months have certainly brought change to our lives. On February 28, the US had a total of 59 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths. Today and as of this writing, there are more than 3 million cases and more than 132,000 deaths due to COVID-19. There have been cases and deaths in every state.

Teaching from Home: Keeping Yourself Motivated
Inner Critic by Alexandra Prero, from the Summer 2020 issue of SchoolArts magazine.

Luckily, teachers are creative and have been able to reach out to their students through the Internet and by other means. But there’s no question that teaching remotely has brought stress to teachers (you), to your students, to your students’ families and caretakers, and to your local communities. Staying at home and teaching from home involves self-care. It involves exercising our bodies and our minds. Here are some ways that you can practice self-care and keep yourself motivated:

There are many resources available for teaching remotely, including on the Davis Publications website. Check out our “Best Practices for Teaching Art Online” paper.

For exercise, try to find 30 minutes a day for some type of physical activity. We all know that we should exercise, and we all know that we should include some form of aerobic exercise, resistance, and stretching. But it takes true commitment to make it happen. Try making a list near your computer of the things you will do every day no matter what. And share your successes with your students. You can inspire them and their parents to take care of themselves in stressful times.

You may also try yoga or simple meditation. I myself have never been able to get into yoga, but since the pandemic, I’ve started ten-minute periods of meditation every day. Believe me, it pays off and it’s very easy. I use an app that guides me through my ten-minute meditation for beginners. Once you get the hang of it, you can use it any time you’re feeling stressed. If you have time, check out our webinar on Self-Care for Art Teachers on our Free Resources pages.

Belly breathing is another great stress reliever, and you can teach it to your students. Just breathe in through your nose, and hold it for 8–10 seconds. Visualize your belly as a balloon that is inflating as you breathe in. Then breathe out through your mouth. Envision your belly as a balloon that is deflating as the air leaves your body. This is a great way for kids and adults to de-stress. We have another free session that will walk you through two Mindfulness strategies to use with yourself or your students. Access the recording directly here or on our webinar page.

The important thing is that you find things that you can realistically make a part of your daily routine. I know it’s not time for New Year’s resolutions, but there’s never been a better time for all of us to commit to daily habits that keep us sane and calm.

We also need to keep our minds engaged. Learning new things about art education can excite you about returning to class or as you teach remotely. Davis has a book series, the Art Education in Practice Series, that is designed specifically for art educators. Each contributor to this series is a nationally known expert on the specific topic. And each book includes the theories related to the topic, as well as practical applications in the classroom (virtual or physical).

There are thirteen titles in the series. Each book in the Art Education in Practice Series is available in both print and digital formats. Choose from the current titles listed below or buy the whole collection. It’s worth the investment, and will add to your daily self-care activities by learning new things every day:

Therapeutic Approaches in Art Education by Dr. Lisa Kay
This timely book helps teachers work with those students who have experienced adversity and trauma. It is a practical guide for those teachers who wish to support therapeutic art making in their practice.

Differentiated Instruction in Art by Heather L. R. Fountain
This invaluable resource adapts the leading theories, ideas, and best practices specifically for art educators. Whether you’re teaching remotely or in person, this book will provide you with new, practical, successful ideas for reaching all of your students.

Using the Art Museum by Denise L. Stone
During COVID-19, many world-class museums have posted their collections online. And this month, many museums are reopening. The Heard Museum in Phoenix, where I live, has reopened with temperature checks as people enter and with social distancing. Using the Art Museum provides practical ideas for making your local art museum an exceptional education resource.

Thinking through Aesthetics by Marilyn G. Stewart
Designed to encourage your students to ask questions about art, this book features a wealth of specific activities that facilitate philosophical inquiry and develop critical thinking skills. Reproducible worksheets and activity pages are included.

Roots of Art Education Practice by Mary Ann Stankiewicz
Brush up on your history of current art education practices with this book that explores the circumstances under which curricular practices originated, including the focus on the elements of art and the principles of design.

Teaching Meaning in Artmaking by Sydney R. Walker
Built on a constructivist philosophy of learning, this book explores ways of fostering inquiry and discovery in the studio classroom. Tips on designing meaningful studio instruction and problem-solving strategies are included.

Community Art in Action by Kristin Congdon
This resource shows how art education programs can be expanded to address community-based and cultural traditions. The text explains how art and aesthetic choices are at the heart of communities and includes activities for expanding student awareness of traditions in communities and around the world.

Rethinking Curriculum in Art by Marilyn G. Stewart
Research shows that thematic teaching across the curriculum significantly increases student engagement. This book gives concrete examples of how teachers can enhance their current lessons and studio activities by organizing them around meaningful, universal themes such as identity, conflict, and relationships. This focus on meaningful themes that affect students’ lives is particularly important in these challenging times.

Assessment in Art Education by Donna Kay Beattie
This text details and evaluates a wide variety of performance assessment strategies, from portfolios and art journals to integrated performance options. Traditional methods, scoring and judging strategies, as well as formative and summative assessment styles are all explored.

Engaging Visual Culture by Karen Keifer-Boyd and Jane Maitland-Gholson
A great guidebook for teachers to help students make sense of the pervasive flow of visual information shaping their worldview and way of being. Reproducible handouts and worksheets include practical strategies for teaching each chapter.

You can also keep your mind engaged with these new titles:

Davis is here to help you in these challenging times. We offer free webinars on topics from leading experts, along with other customized professional development and resources.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay energized!