Being a high school teacher is tough—students are hormonal, angsty, unpredictable, and not always fond of authority. But for Cara Bean, a Massachusetts-based art teacher and cartoonist, her students are a source of inspiration, no matter how infuriating they can be.

Bean created her comic, Ms. Bean’s Art Class, as a way to reflect on what it means to be a teacher at a public high school.

Originally developing her tiny-bean persona to explain assignments on class worksheets, Bean realized that she could use her mini-me doodles as a means of therapeutic personal expression too. 

"A lot of my comics come about when I find myself telling certain stories over and over again to friends and family," Bean tells mental_floss. "If I get a laugh or an emotional response, then I know that I might have something good." 


First printed in 2013, Ms. Bean’s Art Class is an ongoing series, and considering that she teaches five classes each semester, she’s bound to have an endless supply of material. 

“I guess the part of teaching that interests me to write about most is how a teacher and students bond or annoy each other when trapped in a classroom together over a period of time,” Bean explains. “Kids bother me and also melt my heart. It is a constant seesaw.”

All photos courtesy of Cara Bean