Published Work

Self-Care Practices of Art Teachers and Their Perceived Effects on Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorder

by Sarah Kolker
MA in Art Education with an Emphasis in Special Need Populations
August 2015


Main Research Questions I sought to answer:

How do art teachers take care of themselves? What are their perceptions of how their self- care practice affects the focus and behavior of their students with special needs in the classroom?


Educators are stressed from a multitude of factors. With the dropout rate being approximately three years for art educators it was important for me to go to the art teachers themselves to investigate the stressors of the profession and what they do to mitigate these stressors. In my research I sought to understand how art teachers care for themselves while working in a high stress position. Next, I asked what are art teachers’ perceptions of how their own self-care practices further affect their students with emotional behavioral disorders (EBD).  Students who are not taught emotional self-regulation at home benefit most from learning emotional and behavioral regulation and social emotional language (SEL) from their teachers through modeling. How are students diagnosed with EBD affected by how well their teachers take care of their own needs?   Through interviewing a varied population of art teachers on their self-care practices and observing a few in their classroom while teaching I sought to find the answers to these research questions.   My study found that teachers caring for their own needs effects their students’ behavior and attention. Encouraging the reflection by art teachers on their own self-care practices created a more joyful and engaging teaching environment for students struggling with self-regulation and social emotional language in the art classroom.

Link to the full text:

Click here to read Self Care Practices of Art Teachers and Their Perceived Effects on Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorder



Get out of your head is a book of screen printed images completed by Sarah Kolker.

coverbook frontpage

The images of figures with multicolor backgrounds, speak to the idea of living a full life, facing your fears and living a good life.

Prints and postcards are also available upon request.

Original accordion book also available.