The bad news: So, the district I was working at had to make cuts and, being the most recent hire, I was laid off.
The good news: Almost seamlessly, a new job in a neighboring town opened up and I landed a K-12 art education job (and it looks to be almost full-time)!
Now that summer is beginning to wind down (my driveway is full of leaves, which does seem a little too early for that nonsense) and the "back-to-school" ads are popping up on the screen, I am finding myself in need of recording down my overall feelings/revelations about this past year, and the years ahead of me as an art educator.
Last year was my first year out of college and my first year stepping into the role of an elementary art teacher. I worked at 4 different elementary schools, teaching K-6. When I think back to the "Me" that was hired five days before school started last year, I smile a very wise smile. Oh, year-ago-me, you had no idea WHAT you were doing! But despite that...I do feel incredibly proud of my first year. Sure, I made mistakes, but overall I (warning, tooting of own horn) really really rocked at being an art teacher. I received a lot of unsolicited positive feedback throughout the year from parents, teachers and students. The relationships I made with parents, teachers, students and the community were just fantastic. I know there is a lot for me to still learn, but I feel that I am developing into a positive, unabashedly clumsy, encouraging and fun teacher. Words seem to escape me now that I am sitting down at the keyboard, but basically what I've gleaned from this past year is that I am definitely doing the right thing with my life, and I am really good at it :)
So now I am gearing up for my second year of teaching, and it will be a little different this time around. I am going to be teaching K-12, which means a lot of prep, and a lot of new ground to tread with the secondary students.
I can say that I truly love working with every age, but I do think I will really like teaching at the secondary level. It will be exciting to have more time to spend on having kids research artists, learn more in depth about art history, and create artwork that has much deeper levels of meaning. And as much anxiety I may have about all of this, it is certainly matched with a lot of giddy art-teachery-excitement! You know the kind - when you see a photo of some new artist's work and you think...I COULD TOTALLY MAKE A LESSON FROM THAT AND IT WOULD BE MEANINGFUL, ENLIGHTENING AND FUN! My pinterest account is exploding with different artist/inspirations/ideas....
Speaking of which, I think Pinterest is the greatest thing for art educators since the invention of the color projector. My boards can be seen here: http://pinterest.com/scurrmurr/ If you want to follow my education pins, I will want to follow yours!
So, cheers fellow art teachers, and best of luck as you too make the mental and physical switch from summer to school life. I hope you are just as excited as I am! <3