This is a question I ask myself often. "What am I doing with my life?". Last year, when I was working over full time teaching art, I asked myself this question almost daily. I was struggling to stay healthy while also nurturing my relationships with friends and family and attempting to be successful in my career. I didn't feel I was doing a good job at any of it, so I knew something needed to change.
I was working in a brick and mortar school in the Portland Public School district (.75) and teaching online (.5) and felt like I did not have time to do anything besides work. I did not have energy to play with my 3 year old son and my family was walking on eggshells around me because I was so on edge. In fall of 2015 I began thinking about taking a leave of absence from the public school job to work on some projects of my own. At that point, my husband and I began a 6 month conversation about the potential of taking a year off from the public school job. After talks about finances, logistics of us both working from home, and what projects I had in mind, we agreed that it was the right choice for my career, our family, and my sanity.
As an artist, I am constantly full of ideas and I realized that I just did not enough time to create if I was to still be a good teacher, mom, stepmom, and wife. I feel grateful. This time to immerse myself in my creative work is a gift. I am challenging myself to do as much as I can in this time, so I have already jumped into work and the school year has not yet begun. I just wrote a grant, I am planning an art show, writing curriculum, illustrating a kids book, learning new maker tools, and creating my own artwork. I am determined that by the time March 2017 rolls around and I have to let PPS know if I will return, my heart will know. Because right now I don't know where I am heading and what lies ahead. I'm being open to the process.
I'm excited about the challenge to strengthen my relationships with friends and family, immerse myself in creating, and simply follow my curiosities. I invite you to share in my journey as I transition from being a full time teacher to a teacher/artist and maybe eventually a full time artist. Artists and teachers and teaching artists and art teachers, please let me know if you would like to write a blog post to share your experiences too. We all have a story to share. The only thing that I know about this one is that it will be an adventure with bumps and triumphs along the way!