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RE: [teacherartexchange] I haven't gotten the digest since Oct. 10


From: Michal Austin (whest177_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Oct 22 2011 - 10:07:55 PDT

Reading about all of your days makes me 1) feel like I'm not alone in this
craziness, and 2) wonder why on earth THIS is the career I chose? *L* I do
love my job, but I do nothing but run from the moment I get up. I'm putting
in 14 hour days 2 or 3 times a week. I think one reason there hasn't been as
much chatter on the list is that teaching has changed considerably since I
started teaching. It used to be that if I had a question I had 10,000 art
teachers just an email away. Now, I am inundated with lesson ideas on every
website I visit, and if it is a technical decision I can search for an
answer & find it within seconds.

My day begins as I help teachers in our district with Technology
Integration. I am the district specialist and I never know if I'm going to
be helping create videos or podcasts, troubleshooting a troublesome computer
or projector, hooking up a document camera, installing software, or lately,
helping to integrate iPads into the classrooms. During this time I am also
monitoring a HS teacher aide who works on the district webpage (I hope I can
keep him, and get another student trained since this has freed up a lot of
my time. If I can't train another student by the time this one graduates
I'll have to edit the webpage myself again).Then, if I'm lucky, I get 40
minutes of plan time, followed by HS Art with not only the students in my
own classroom but students in 2 other towns, via Distance Learning program.
I have 2 42" plasma tvs and we interact live. It is interesting &
challenging, to say the least. Have you ever tried to teach ceramics over
the tv? It can be done, but you have to be pretty creative in walking
students through their challenges. My next class is a Digital Communications
class focusing on Photoshop & video editing. We are gearing up to start
filming basketball games live, so we have that learning challenge ahead of
us. We also put together the yearbook, which is completely digital.

Quick lunch, then I take my HS teacher aides and get them busy on stocking
concessions or out to classrooms to help teachers on technology needs. Off I
go to the intermediate to teach an hour of art class - one grade per week
(we are a really small district) Mon - Thur 3rd-6th grade, and Friday I have
3/4 or 5/6 for a computer class. Back to the high school for a middle school
art class, followed by HS art where I also have another school via IDL.
After school I am often running the concession stand (I'm senior class
sponsor), running FEA meetings (I'm our local NEA president), finishing all
the technology needs I didn't get to during the school day, teaching
technology integration classes to teachers, or doing "art teacher jobs" like
cutting paper or prepping for the next day. I gave up hanging art displays
long ago. My elementary students finish a project & I hand them sticky tack
& send them to the hallway to hang their artwork. My end of the hallway at
the grade school definitely looks like a children's art room! *L*

I can't complain - most of our teachers have had their bulletin boards taken
down by request. The only boards that survived host year long learning
stations. Gone are the days of decorating seasonally. Our school is in the
top 3% academically in the state, and expectations are high to keep them
there. If a student is failing a class he/she goes to that classroom before
& after school until their grade is passing. That means if a student is
failing my class I have to be there at least 30 minutes before school to
work with them. That means no early morning prep for me (I live 35 miles
from my school - I refuse to leave my house earlier than 6:45 to get to work
when I often don't get home before 7 or 8:00 pm).

Also, I am very community oriented, so I write the city newsletter for the
town I live in, run the city webpage, am president of the local library
board, and help my husband with grants - he is the fire chief and we have
replaced all 4 fire trucks through grants and are trying to build a new fire
station). Oh, and just to prove I'm insane, I started a cake decorating
business on the side! I think one of the biggest perks of getting older is
you do get really great time management skills!

Good thing we have time off for holidays & summer vacation. :)

~ Michal
> What are your days like?

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