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10 Things Only Art Teachers Would Understand

10 Things Only Art Teachers Would Understand

As an art teacher you are not always understood. You are creative and stand out in what you do, and the process of getting there is what makes you different. You can find inspiration from the most random things. Art is everywhere. You like inspiring music and you try your best to stay organized, which is hard with all your supplies. For all this, people tend to see you as being a little odd. Here are 10 things that only art teachers understand!

1. You see that art is underestimated

The school system teaches students to answer questions and memorize answers. Often times, art classes are viewed as less important and can be easily replaced. Art is an important part of life. It shows people how to express themselves and how to see more than just a question and an answer. Don’t let the negative view hold you down, look back at all the great work you have done and get ready to be even better.

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2. You value creativity

It doesn’t matter to you where your students or even yourself get creativity from. The most important thing is that you can enjoy all that is needed to bring to life a creative piece of art. You use all the resources you can to stimulate the creative part of a person’s life and you love to see the beautiful result that comes from it. For example, you can organize a trip to the museum or hold an art exhibition with the pieces your students have made. It will be inspiring for you and your students!

3. You realize a new time has begun

The internet and other technology has opened new ways to be creative. The people with real talent and creativity have more possible ways than ever to share their art with others and more artists are being born every day. The opportunities are all around us and you simply have to reach out and express your creativity. You motivate your students to take those chances and use technology for their own future.

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4. You teach innovation

You don’t simply want students to answer a question with one solution – you give them multiple ways to solve problems. You show them how to be creative and use that to find a way in life. You want them to experiment and learn from their mistakes. Life is not a one way street, it’s a lot of little roads, leading to multiple opportunities.

5. You enjoy simplicity

Art comes and goes. It can be created from any material. You enjoy using simple things to inspire others. No matter if it is a pen and paper, a chalkboard or paint, you love to create art and inspire your students. Take, for example, this art teacher in Wyoming. He uses his blackboard to inspire his students. He uses basic materials and makes them into art.

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6. You get a higher status (than other teachers)

When you are an art teacher, your students see you as a special kind of teacher. Your students will be excited to come to your class. You can use this excitement to teach them things they never knew. You show them possibilities to grow as a person. You stimulate the part of the brain that they don’t get to use in any other class.

7. You need to stand up for your profession

Beyond your students, art teachers are often underestimated. This results in a little struggle here and there. You need to let your voice be heard now and then, to show them you are valuable too. You have to ask or state your opinion regularly. Do not be afraid to say “no” to things you don’t have time for. If you keep it professional, you will get through the harder things.

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8. You have to develop a personal grading system

Art teachers cannot simply cross off the wrong answers. To grade a project, it completely depends on the individual and their potential. As you see more projects, you get to know each person and their strengths. This way, you develop a personal and unique grading system. No grading by rota for you!

9. You know different techniques

Teaching art is not a one-sided thing. You need to know many different techniques, use different materials and different points of view. You do not have a book that tells you what your students have to learn that lesson, but you have your own period of time for every project. The students will have to find out how to work with the different materials. It takes time and patience to teach them the different techniques, and for every student’s strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be learning right alongside them.

10. You can not always succeed

The busy life of an art teacher will not always go as planned. Sometimes things do not go the way you want to and you work towards finding peace with that. As long as you put in your best effort, it will be worth it. You can not let small failures bring you down.

Featured photo credit: weinstock via pixabay.com

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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