Lately I've been applying for jobs. Taking a leave of absence from my public school teaching job has been a blessing in so many ways. I've had energy to spend with my family, create my own work, learn new skills, and even train for a triathlon (that's only a few days away!). I've developed some skills that would greatly improve my teaching and I am anxious to get back into the classroom. I feel energized.
I am looking to see what options I have since the job that I left last year was reduced to .5 FTE. I want to be in a school that believes in the visual arts and supports a solid arts program. Two jobs have come up for next fall that would be ideal jobs for me. After 20 years of teaching art, I feel like I have the knowledge, skills, and the right to be picky. I interviewed at an all-girls Catholic high school. It would be an amazing place to work, with motivated and talented teachers and students, and I would finally be in a high school. I have always envisioned myself at this point in my career teaching at a high school or upper level classes. So, this was my chance. I got an interview but I did not get the job. After feeling a bit disappointed, I moved on and applied for another ideal job at a local arts focus elementary school. If any job is a great fit for me, it's this one! I have a huge amount of experience in the elementary art classroom, shining letters of recommendation and I know I could continue a legacy of visual art excellence. This time I did not even get called for an interview.
It is interesting how at this time last year I was so ready to take a break and step away from the classroom, maybe even not returning. Now the time has come to think about going back and it seems that the universe might not want me to.
Why does this have to be such a difficult profession? As art teachers, we not only have to teach but we also have to convince the people that make all of the decisions that reflect our lives that providing a space for students to be creative is highly important. I'm not sure I have the energy to do it anymore. Maybe it's time for me to put that charge in another direction?