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Name tag with text that reads, "Hello. My name is Mrs. Gray" but the name is marked out. First Day of School for Art Teacher post about learning student names.

First Day of School for Art Teachers, Part 1

The First Day of School for Art Teachers is Vital! First Impressions are IMPERATIVE! Let me tell you a little story…

Once upon a time, I was at an art event and I met up with a retired art teacher that…well let’s just say had a reputation for having no classroom control and no student rapport. We’ll call her Mrs. Gray. She was telling me a story about a terrible classroom situation where students were throwing supplies across the room or something like that and she made this statement nonchalantly , “You know how it is… when you have a classroom filled with 30 students and you don’t know their names.”

I’m sure my face gave it away because I was literally shocked. In my brain, I screamed, “NO. NO, I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT BECAUSE I LEARN THEIR NAMES!” To be polite, I just nodded a bit and gave one of those flat lip smiles.

Listen, please don’t be a Mrs. Gray!! Learn their names. There is literally absolutely NOTHING that is more important on the first days of school.

There are genuine teacher perks to knowing your students names. When students feel seen and heard, they’re more likely to engage in class, participate in discussions, and even complete their assignments on time. It’s like wielding a name-powered magnet for academic success!

Plus, as an art teacher, don’t we just have this extra little magic?  I think we do.  It’s just something special where students feel just a little bit more close with us than they might with other teachers.  It can be a curse or a blessing!  But you can use it to your advantage!   It is essential to dive headfirst into the name game right away as it starts us off towards that magical place where kids WANT to do well for you (and maybe tell you their life story) because they KNOW you care.  

Remember, a name is no ordinary word; it’s a magic spell that summons attention and camaraderie.  On the first day of school for art teachers or for ANY day for ANY teacher, knowing student names fosters an inclusive and welcoming environment. It shows them that we see and acknowledge their individuality, making them feel valued and appreciated. As you call each student by name during discussions, critiques, or praise, it encourages active participation and boosts their confidence to express their artistic visions freely.

First Day of School for Art Teachers ID Cards for students. Photo shows examples.

I have a couple more blog posts about the First Day of School for Art Teachers. One of those is about having students fill out an I.D. Card. This helps me learn a bit about them, their artistic abilities and also THEIR NAMES. You can read that post HERE.

Image is a desk top filled with art supplies. Text reads, "Why Take Art? It builds creativity and problem solving skills?"  Post about the first day of school for art teachers

Another blog post about the First day of School for Art Teachers is about how and why I take the time to explain to my Art 1 students WHY THEY ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE AN ART CLASS. You can read that post HERE.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to click my link and make a purchase, I recieve a small percentage commisson at no extra cost to you.

Have you read The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry and Rosemary Wong? It’s a great book for Classroom Management covering the First Days of School. I highly recommend it for new teachers!


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Hi, I’m Erin!

I’ve been a high school art teacher at a rural school in WV for the past 14 years. I teach Art 1, AP Art + Design, Art 2 and 3. 
I’m a little obsessed with my sweet husband. Together we have FOUR kids and a rescue dog named Boomer! 
I love a bad pun and terrible dad jokes. I spend time looking at MBTI memes, cooking, listening to serial killer podcasts and Harry Potter audiobooks on repeat. I also teach yoga and indoor cycling. Click the button below to learn more about me. 

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