BOOM! I got the call at about 4:00 Wednesday--they wanted me to start
teaching Thursday morning!!! So, I did. *big grin!*
I'd been waiting for that call since I was "processed" 4 weeks ago. They
were just waiting on my fingerprints; couldn't give me a start date until my
background check was complete.
So, 7 1/2 years after leaving the professional in order to raise my family,
I am back to teaching art full time!
I am teaching grades 1-3 at my children's school, seeing each class once a
week for 50 minutes in my own room. Of course it wasn't built to be an art
room--it used to be a first-grade classroom, so it has carpet, and only one
low sink. But still--it is my very own classroom!!! With BULLETIN BOARDS and
a dry-erase board. And lots of wall space, and a row of windows. It happens
to be right across the hall from my son's kindergarten room! I love being so
close to him. And I am very close to my daughter's room, too. She has to
pass by my room every time her class goes anywhere!
I was not planning to go back any time soon. My two kids are in 2nd grade
and kindergarten. I love volunteering in their school. I also love having a
flexible schedule so I can run errands or stay at home--there's always
PLENTY of work to do!--while the kids are at school, if I was not
volunteering. But when I became aware that their school was desperate to
fill a full-time art position--they had hired a teacher in September or so,
but she left for another opportunity a few days later, leaving the school in
a lurch!--I couldn't help but start dreaming of filling that position
myself. Every month when I taught the Art Masters lessons to the classes my
kids are in, I kept wishing that I
1) had my own classroom to arrange and run and put up my visuals, etc. (Art
Masters is a monthly "Art on a Cart" volunteer program run by the PTA);
2) saw the students for more than just one lesson a month, so I could go
more in-depth with both the art history and the hands-on experiences; and
3) didn't put all that extra effort into a lesson only to teach one class,
when the other classes at the same grade level were getting a different
experience (strictly the curriculum) or none at all (if there were no parent
volunteers for the class). I modified the PTA curriculum a lot to suit my
teaching style, make use of my own resources, and provide a more meaningful,
less cookie-cutter art experience for the children. And they seemed to love
As I found out more and more about the situation at the school, I found
myself more and more intrigued and excited. After a lot of prayer,
contemplation, and discussion, my husband and I decided that if things
worked out, then yes, our family would make the transition, and I'd go back
to work. Things kept happening along the way to help me along in the
process. Too much to go into here! And once I found out that the school
could lose the funding if the position were not filled, it really set me on
fire--I just had to do whatever I could to keep that position at the school!
When we first moved here, 8 1/2 years ago, the elementary schools did not
have art teachers. Hence the PTA-run volunteer program. I'm not exactly sure
when that changed, and they started hiring art art teachers, but apparently
there is a big shortage of qualified visual art teachers here now, as there
are 50 elementary schools in the school system. The school I am at knew in
July that they had a position to add a teacher, yet were unable to find
anyone until September, and as I said, that individual did not stay. This
may sound odd, but I'm actually glad I did not know about it then (in
July)--I was not ready to say it was time for me to go back to work; my
focus was on getting my son ready to transition into kindergarten.
But things happened, and there I am, starting a week and 2 days before the
holiday break begins. I am the 2nd full-time teacher there--there is another
art teacher who teaches 4th and 5th and also 2 of the 3rd grade classes. So
I have a colleague, and am not the sole visual arts person. I am so glad to
have someone to collaborate with. She is full of energy and enthusiasm--this
is her first year--and I am very happy to be working with her.
Just thought I'd share with the group, as this is why I joined. I look
forward to to learning from you all and sharing when I have something worth
sharing. I'm glad this group exists, and wish I'd belonged to something like
this 10 years ago when I was just starting my career!
Thanks for reading, if you made it this far....