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[teacherartexchange] decisions - art on a cart

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From: L Mitchell (lismatisse_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed May 31 2006 - 05:12:02 PDT


I've always gotten advice that you'll just
know...that's easy for someone to tell you, but your
experience will help you make the decision. I can tell
you about mine - I would take the elementary job.
I have taught 13 years, all but 1 year at the
elementary level. When I moved I had to take a job in
a middle school last year - it was the first time I
had ever had my own room, and having kids every day
you'd think I'd get a lot done. But just as you said -
the attitudes were draining. I agree with Michal, you
are either a middle school teacher (meaning you enjoy
it) or you aren't. I was an experienced teacher going
into that new job...but frustrated the entire year. If
I had the option you had at the end of last year - I
wouldn't have had to think. PUT me on a cart and back
in elementary school. (I did finally go back to
elementary last year, 2 schools, longer class periods,
still some disrespect and attitude - but mostly good
days).
But let me also put a positive spin on the cart
aspect. As a beginning teacher, I had 3 schools and 2
of them had no art room. You do come up with different
ideas, ways to get around the sink, etc. The best part
was that I was in the teachers' rooms, knew what units
they were teaching and integrated lessons very easily,
got to build relationships with the staff, and my
desk/art closet was in the music teacher's room.
During any down time I got to watch her teach, it was
a great experience for me - I sometimes catch myself
sounding like her, it was a different experience than
any mentoring experience I've had with new teachers
because I'm often mentoring teachers at a different
school in art. The cart wasn't so bad, I actually had
2 carts so a larger one for painting or bigger
projects was usually kept stocked. I did have an art
library in a crate that stayed on the cart - I would
put it out - I only had 1 teacher that was very
protective of her room and when we painted would move
kids away from the bulletin board (the art teacher
before me had gotten paint on it). My students' faces
lit up when the art cart came - they like you coming
to their room. If you're ever going to be on a cart -
this is the time to do it, while you're still excited
and ready for challenges...not after years of being in
a classroom and too set in your ways to be flexible.
There are lots of teachers on a cart - many ideas and
support will be there for you. My favorite part of
elementary school are the younger ones - they're ready
to try anything. I stayed at my 3 elementary schools
for 10 years...I was on a cart at 1 school the entire
time - but only there 1 day a week. The other 2
schools merged after a few years and when the new
school was built so was a LOVELY art room (when I left
2 years ago it was turned into a classroom, so the new
teacher was put on a cart again I think).
I have really enjoyed reading about your year - hope
you can find time to reflect and enjoy the summer.
Lisa, Greensboro NC

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