Dear Diane, Cathy, Belinda and Woody,
Just reading Cathy's post and your posts to Cathy in her current dilemma brought warmth to my heart. It is so comforting to know that there are art educators out there who are ready to encourage and advise one another in such a helpful way... made me feel good about this list.
I just returned from Boston NAEA early because of a family issue. The conference seems to be going really well with great attendance and interesting sessions.
Keep up the transparency and kindness that is so rare in today's world.
From: Diane C. Gregory [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sun 3/6/2005 11:48 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: Job resignation: Whats next?
You will come out on top, eventually. It will take time and it will be stressful and scarey. In the end you will find a new beginning. I know this because you have had many useful experiences that will translate into another position elsewhere, no matter what you do. You have acquired many skills no doubt and most assuredly you have acquired deep wisdom. Do not discount this. This is a transition time and no question it will be difficult--you will find your way and the place that you go to will be much better for you...it is the great unknown, but the universe is working its miracle for you and others.
I know this because 1 1/2 years ago, I quit my tenured Associate professorship within an art department that was full of anger, strife, tension, competition, and unhealthy psychological baggage. I quit my job without having a new job to replace it. I gave up tenure and a job that I had for almost 12 years.
I am single and did not have the responsibility for anyone except for myself and my wonderful companion, Suzie, my now 14 year old Schnauzer. One day after a particularly negative interaction, I just snapped and I knew I needed to be in a better place for me. I knew I needed to be in a place where I could grow and flourish. After six or seven months of unemployment, I found a new univesity teaching position in a different city...I had to move to a new city to start again. I had to use much of my retirement income, but it was either this or die on the vine. I chose life.
My new job is a place with many challenges, but the emotional environment is much more supportive. I feel needed and I feel I can move this program in a positive direction and at the same time continue to grow as a professional art educator. Also, I am close enough to my former city that I can visit good friends every two or three months. I also maintain contact using my unlimited weekend minutes that my cell phone company provides--isn't technology grande!
It took courage I didn't know I had and the help of many people, but I am finding my way. I can see now that this was for the best. It was a loss, but I have much more now...I have hope now...before I had lost all hope to make a difference in the lives of others and in my own. Out of despair has come happiness. It was worth the price.
I pray this will happen for you.
Best of luck,
From: The Hammond Family <email@example.com>
Sent: Mar 6, 2005 7:55 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Job resignation: Whats next?
Wow, Cathy, that's a heavy load. I can sympathize with you but from a different angle.
I love my school and "set-up - a very supportive principal and good fellow teachers - kind of a tough student population but I love them. Unfortunately, I have never made SO little money in my life.
My husband recently lost his sales job (not unusual here in NC where the economy is NOT good no matter what GW says). Since I was a nurse for 20 years (with a master's degree) I could easily go back to nursing and make decent money - but I don't want to leave teaching ART or my school and students. My husband is really "encouraging" me to return to nursing.
So I'll be thinking about you as we both make some difficult and important decisions.
----- Original Message -----
From: Cathy Gaul
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2005 10:31 AM
Subject: Job resignation: Whats next?
I have been in 'deep background' lately with no time for sharing. I didn't go to the NAEA convention, but I am not a member either. For the last 16 years I have worked in a private school and have had no affiliation with any of the support groups until I came here!
This place has been a touchstone for me and I appreciate everyone's posts on all subjects. It has opened my brain to lots of ideas and shown me that I am on the same path as most of you. The cumulative wisdom here is amazing.
That being said, I have given my notice at my job. I will finish out the year and then I am done at the place that was 'home' for so long. I have been part time all these years and the school is floundering and has been for the last 3 years. We went from a high enrollment of 225 to a present reenrollment of @100 confirmed Full Time Equivalents for September 05. The reasons for the enrollment drop are many and varied, mostly having to do with 3 head of schools in 3 years. But there are other things that are causing families to bail.
Many reasons have lead to my decision to resign, but the main reason is that admin is making staying extremely hard, plus I need to make more $$ than I will be able to do here. My hours were due to be cut yet again. The school has already cut special program teacher hours and all teacher aides except for K and pre K. They have taken all my prep time and lunch time (now I am no longer paid for it, only for contact time with kids), and classroom teachers have lost 2.5 hrs of prep time due to cutting back on special subject time.
I went from being 'part time faculty' to being categorized as a '12.5 contact hour employee' spread over 3 days. They calculated I actually have only 10.25 contact hours, but that is not accurate. I am actually in contact with students 11.50 hrs, so ooops, I do have a half hour a week prep time!
I am required to be present at 4 all-day faculty in-services (on my off day), monthly 7:30 AM faculty meetings, monthly special teacher meetings after school, evening and weekend open houses, and any other event the Head of School demands, all unpaid. The language of our 'letter of employment' (NOT a contract!) states as such. Any other employment I can manage has to take a backseat to my job at this school as stated in this letter of employment. I can be terminated with or without cause. My grievance procedure is a joke. I have no benefits except a small match to a 403B plan.
At one time I was willing to make the sacrifice because of the great family atmosphere and the feeling of working for a greater good to promote the school. This year I have been treated poorly by administration and watched the camaraderie of staff deteriorate to a point where everybody feels that they are on probation for next year. No good deed is going unpunished, as it were. Business as usual is now totally reinvented. It isn't worth it to me to continue under this new regime and I am beginning my search for a new position.
I just don't know where to start and if I even want to be in education any more.
I have a PA. permanent certification, but not NJ. I would need to take the Praxis exam as well. I graduated college in '75.
I am feeling pretty overwhelmed at this point and ready for a new adventure, but I am spinning my wheels. Anybody have any advice/recommendations?
-Teaching homeschool kids
-Home art classes
-A combination of the above
-Something completely different!