What does it mean to be an art teacher today? What do art teachers do, what do they believe, what do they value, what obstacles do they face? In this day-in-the-life account, six art teachers provide a realistic picture of what life as an art teacher is really like. "Real Lives" is not a book about curriculum or learning theory, although these topics are discussed. Instead, it is grounded research exploring the narratives of good art teachers who are the heart of good art programs everywhere. These teachers work with African American, White, Hispanic, privileged, and challenged populations across all grades in urban and rural locations from Oregon to Florida and from Texas to Minnesota. In addition to better understanding these teachers' drives, rewards, and frustrations, readers will learn more about specific issues and themes in the field, such as common instructional strategies, discipline techniques, routines, art content, and the logistics of materials and tools in a realistic, nonformulaic way. Some of the core issues raised are addressed as questions to promote further study and discussion in Chapter 8.

All action, including teaching and learning, is rudderless without a reason. Together, these stories provide both an impetus for future art teachers to develop their own philosophies about art education and a crucible in which seasoned teachers may test existing outlooks.