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Art Teacher-Unfair Request?



I teach Kindergarten. Yesterday, my children had art. When I picked them up, the art teacher let me know that the children cannot use the bottled glue very well. She implied that it was my job to teach them and that I am making her job harder. Well, here is the problem. I do not mind helping out other teachers as much as I can (example: we have been practicing the music for the Christmas program to help out the Music teacher). However, I do not see the art teacher teaching them their letters, to read, telling time, numbers, addition, subtraction, how to get in line, how to wash their hands, how to behave, and the list goes on and on and on. I understand that she may be frustrated, but we do art daily in my classroom. We use glue sticks because it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to stand over the students the whole art center to make sure that they do not get glue all over the table. Today, we used the glue bottles just to see what would happen. As I predicted, the tables look awful. I do not mind wiping off the table, but I do not have enough time in my day to scrub the table every day. I know that more practice will make it better, but I just do not have time to worry about how they glue. I am not trying to be rude, but she IS the ART TEACHER. Anyway, I just had to vent. Am I being unreasonable?


New Member

I agree that the art teacher should take some of the responsibility for teaching the students how to properly use the glue bottles, but that doesn't mean that she has the be the ONLY one doing it.

Here's my suggestion. I worked in a different school a few years ago, and the teacher across the hall never had problems with glue bottles. Her students were pros at using them. When it was time for them to use the glue bottles, she would chirp, "Just a little dot! Just a little dot will do ya!" She said it in this high-pitched voice kind of like a little bird, and it STUCK! Because she sounded so weird saying it, the kids ate it up. Every time they got out their glue bottles, you could hear them chirping, "Just a little dot!" right along with her.

It shouldn't take too long to cover this with them. Granted, they are kindergartners, but if you mention it every time, eventually stick (no pun intended.)


Junior Member
I teach music so I can kind of understand where the Art Teacher is coming from. I only get my students for about an hour a week, and sometimes I feel like it just isn't enough time. I try not too, but sometimes I do think, "well they have them so much more, so it would be easier for them to teach them these things." As a music teacher I try to teach them everything I want them to know. I am kind of a perfectionist and I want them to learn the way that I do it, not the way some other teacher might do it. This way I have no suprises! I hope everything goes well. Maybe suggest the art teacher that glue sticks seem to work better for kindergarten and that maybe move up to glue bottles in 1st grade (unless of course this is a budget problem).


Senior Member
Agree with you

As classroom teachers, we have certain responsibilities as do the special area teachers. I understand where the art teacher is coming from, but it is not your responsibility to teach them how to use glue from a bottle. I teach 2nd grade and my students still use glue sticks. I mean, we are talking about Kindergarten, shouldn't she be a little more understanding? Couldn't they use glue sticks instead of Elmer's glue? Ask her about it. Don't worry yourself.


Junior Member
Try this...

My kinders can use glue just fine. In fact, we hardly use glue sticks at this point in the year. It's probably from me drilling the phrase, "A dot, a dot will do. More than that is too much glue!" My kids repeat it every time they get glue and we have NO problems. Try it! :-)

About the art teacher, yes, I do think you're being somewhat unreasonable. It only takes a second to talk about how to use glue. If you're doing it and so is she, they'll catch on quickly! Part of the job of a kindergarten teacher is to teach them how to be at school. Using glue is one of those skills they need to learn. I understand it takes time to scrub tables, etc. but it's all part of teaching kindergarten. My kids LOVE to scrub stuff off the tables. It's one of our classroom jobs! You could always put shaving cream on the tables to clean them as well...then you can be teaching letters, etc. at the same time!


Senior Member
NO I dont think your being unreasonable

The reason why is because part of being an art teacher is teaching about how to properly use art supplies. Just like in my classroom I teach about how to properly use pencils, read books, write words, etc.... she needs to demonstrate the proper way she wants her students to use art supplies.
I don't mean to disrespect special area teachers because I've had special area teachers (high school choir) that I loved! But at my school we get a lot of comments from sp. area teachers like "Oh your kids won't listen, you kid's talk to much, your kids blah blah blah --" Yes their my students, but special area teachers are teachers just like I am. They need their own classroom management plan and their own rules just like I have in my room.
I'd tell her in a nice way that yes your kids dont use glue very well because you prefer to teach them how to use glue sticks becuase of the time factor. Tell her you'd be happy to have your kids bring their own glue sticks to art class when glue is needed!
BTW - I do like that previous post about the saying to use
a dot a dot with do - more than that is too much glue - very cute


The point

As I mentioned, I do not care to help out fellow teachers. However, SHE is the one that wants them to use the bottled glue. Glue sticks work perfectly fine for my classroom. I do not have time to clean off the tables daily (basically scrape them if we use bottled glue). I spend at least two hours after school each day as it is. I do not see the need to add an extra 30 to 45 minutes to that just to help out the art teacher. That may sound rude, but that is the way that it is. I have taught them to use scissors, color, and about 10,000,000 other things this year. It is not an issue of taking the time to show the children something new. The problem is that we use glue EVERY SINGLE DAY in my classroom. I just do not have time to clean up after the students everyday and I am teaching all day long, so the students do not have time to scrape the glue off to help out. I appreciate the suggestions, but I am not convinced that she should not help out with this or do it herself.


Senior Member
out of proportion

If I've read your post correctly, these are K students. Learning how to glue neatly is definitely a task for this age group - not something I'd expect them to have mastered. Obviously you and the art teacher don't agree on what materials the kids should be mastering, since she's introduced liquid glue and you haven't. Personally, I feel like if she wants to introduce it, she should teach it. I'm sure you taught the kids about putting the caps back on the glue sticks, etc. when you allowed them to start using them.

Why can't she just put down some kind of paper covering so that the glue doesn't get on the table? I used to teach special ed preschool, and that is what I did when the kids used glue and paint. Or, I'd give them each a big metal tray to work on, so that I could just dump the trays in the sink. Since the trays were designated for messy things, I didn't care if they came out perfectly clean.

I ended using glue sticks more, but that was only because I had an autistic child who liked to eat liquid glue!


Senior Member

I use glue sticks with my children too, and while I realise that glue in bottles is probably cheaper, glue sticks dry quicker, and make less mess. I just weighed up why I was using the glue in the first place. If I was aiming to teach the children to use runny glue, then of course I would use runny glue. If my aim however is for them to do an activity that incidentally requires them to glue then we use glue sticks. I guess in some ways you have to weigh up all the options. When you are reporting to the parents will they be interested that their child can use runny glue, or that they can say the alphabet and read it. I am in no way saying that art skills are not important, but developmentally some young children just don't have the coordination to control glue bottles. I know that mine come to school with so much lacking in so many areas that I have to cram enough learning into my day already. (and we don't have art teachers, I teach every subject to my class) -|---


Senior Member
one suggestion

I'm with you on this one. Your day is full.
Perhaps the art teacher could modify "her glue routines." The previous suggestions are great. My saying is "A dot is a lot."
One other thing I do at school (have also used at Sunday School and in the craft cabin at camp) is to use the little cheap paint brushes. I pour an inch or so of white glue into those little paint pots with the funnel type insert and lid. Then we give the kids a skinny, cheap paint brush(come in packages of 12 or so for $1). Kids dip the brush in the glue and just paint the glue on. The paint pots keep the glue from spilling. I put a thin film of vaseline around the edges of the lid to keep it from sticking. At the end of the day I have few paint brushes to wash out and every once in a while I have to peel dried glue from the paint pots and re-fill them. I have been using the same brushes for a few years. Works for me. Might work for your art teacher.