Sunday, May 22, 2011

200 readers and big changes on the way

Wow 200 people follow my blog now? This time last year I think maybe 50 people read my blog. I think that really shows how powerful blogging is for art teachers who often feel isolated. The Internet and blogs are such a valuable resource for me. I know my lessons have improved immensely since I can draw from others. I still feel sooooo lucky to live in this digital age and feel I am a better teacher for what the Internet and digital media can offer me.

The one drawback to my increased readership is I no longer feel comfortable writing about my personal teaching life. Why? Well a mixture of being self conscious, being a little creeped out at that many strangers knowing my business and being realistic that people seem to be looking for lesson ideas not my commentary on teaching.

But I'm going to indulge myself for this post and talk about my personal life. With 3 weeks left this year I can say this has been my hardest year of teaching so far. While I feel like my teaching and my classroom management have improved a ton over the last five years I also feel incredibly burnt out. From the sudden death of my dad this fall, to demand of teaching 8 classes a day to 9 grade levels while juggling extreme student management issues ....I end this year wondering if I am meant to keep teaching.

I know my current school is not a good match for me but somehow I have avoided the cuts AGAIN and have been rehired at .8 for next year. I'm not ungrateful. I know I am damn lucky to have a job year after year. I am not naive. I know teaching is challenging everywhere.
But I am also realistic, I know my teaching site and arrangement is particularly challenging and not where I see myself in the future.
sometimes I feel like this dude...

Now a new opportunity is presenting itself. I am off probation in my district. I have a shot at transferring schools and there is a teaching position open at my dream school. A position teaching just middle school at a nice school, with nice students and supportive parents and a strong commitment to the arts. I want to move to this school so badly that I could cry.

So why am I not running to apply...well I happen to be 4 months pregnant! Do a little math and I will be having my first child in very early November:) And yes I plan on taking my 12 weeks of maternity leave. Even though the new position if half time (which would be perfect for going back to work after maternity leave!) I can't imagine what school is going to want to hire a teacher who is going to be gone for 12 weeks in the middle of the year.
(now I can make these for my own baby!)

I'm not showing at all (that is another story of intense morning sickness and weight loss) and I know I don't HAVE to tell them during the interviewee that I am pregnant. But I am a the type of person who will tell. It will not be the first thing out of my mouth but I feel strongly that I need to tell them. Showing up in August, 8 months pregnant, and saying "oh by the way..." is not how you build trusting, long term relationships.

The few coworkers I have discussed this with tell me I either have to keep it a secret during the hiring process or I stand no chance. I am so torn between my what I feel is the right thing to do and my intense desire to at least be considered for the new position....what would you do?


  1. Not sure if that question was rhetorical or not...if so, disregard my answer, but please still know that I'm grateful for art teachers like you who blog and share ideas and talent to help the rest of us! I have just started teaching art for the first time...and in a foreign country, in a language I'm not yet fluent that intensifies my gratitude tenfold. THANK YOU!
    As for the interview...I would just say that lies always eventually hurt worse than the truth...

  2. Oh dear, I don't know how to respond.

    First of all - about blogging, I know what you mean. I hit 200 followers a month or 2 ago, and I'm already at 229. I feel like I have a personal relationship with some of my readers and I don't want to lose that by becoming too big. But I certainly don't want to stop anyone from coming to visit either; it's tough to know what to say or not to say.

    As for your specific situation - congrats on being pregnant - celebrate this wonderful time!

    But as a long-time reader, I do know what your job situation has been like, and my heart has gone out to you many times. But state to state, regulations and practices are so different, I don't feel like I have the ability to advise. But personally, even after what a tough job you've had and how much you want to get out, I couldn't go for the interview without telling htem about the pregnancy. But I'd let them know how committed I am to getting back in after my leave and that I'll do such a wonderful job that it will be worth it in the long run. Then let the chops fall where they may... If they don't hire you, then it wasn't meant to be. Just an opinion! I know around here jobs are hard to come by; arts are often first cut, so you have to do a lot of assessing of your own personal/family situation and do what is right for YOU. Good luck! And congrats again on the 200!

  3. I don't normally comment, but I am a reader and was struck by this latest post. I agree that art teachers need these blogs to not feel so isolated. Being a brand new art teacher (just started in February!) I don't know what I'd do without being able to learn from all of you who SOMEHOW MAGICALLY have the time to not only devote yourself to your students and constructing such quality lessons, but also finding the time to blog about it and share your amazing ideas with people who need them (ME!).
    The fact that you are so dedicated to your profession that you do all of the above tasks, including blog about it - means you are so passionate that you ARE in fact, MEANT to keep teaching!!!
    I'm brand new at this and in a rough school. I've felt MANY MANY days that perhaps I was in over my head with classroom management and that maybe I wasn't meant to be a teacher. Reading your blog, especially this post, where I see an EXPERT wondering the same things I am - gives me hope that we are all in the same boat! What we do is NOT easy.
    I just wanted to share what an inspiration you are, and how much you give to SO many people - your own students in the school that you teach, and all of the art teachers in cyberspace who learn and borrow from you.
    Anyway, I say GO FOR YOUR DREAM SCHOOL! If you get it - FANTASTIC!! (It is ILLEGAL for them not to hire you solely based on pregnancy - DISCRIMINATION!). If you don't - then, you'll find something else another time and for now you have your current job. The only place to go is UP!

    And... CONGRATULATIONS on your future artist!! :)

  4. congrats! i know how you feel about "not showing"...i am almost 9 months and my kids are just now asking. i'm small, too, which is hilarious to me because half of them are telling me i look like i just got fat!

    anyways, it's against the law to discriminate against a pregnant i say GO FOR IT! your maternity leave will be during the holidays (right, that is when mine was and i had my first little one november 7) and that is such a waste of 3 weeks inbetween right might open a world of possibility and happiness for you, especially when you will loathe leaving your precious little one to go to a job that you for thought!

  5. Go for it! That's my vote! I think life is too short and they will soon forget if you do a great job it will be like you never left. When you do reveal the news I would do it, get it over with, move on, and be totally professional. It's business at the end of the day. Believe me they will do what's best for their business do what's best for you. I wouldn't tell and give them the chance to discriminate. Think about being pregnant in the school your in and there it might be better for the baby. Sorry if it sounds harsh just how I feel. It's hard to keep emotions out of it but I think it's best.

  6. By the way I was in a similar situation and it worked out really good if I do say so myself. . . and it's not lying if no one asks:)

  7. Be honest with them and go for it! You will regret it if you don't.

  8. Hang in there the next 3 weeks! GO for the job! All I can say is focus on your positives. I know it is not looking good at my district and I have been teaching for 15 years! My motto is I am riding the tsunami wave and where I land I land. Congrats!

  9. If they like you and your portfolio of work, and you genuinely express a desire to develop your career in addition to raising your family, I can't imagine pregnancy being a problem. So many teachers have pregnancies that it shouldn't be an issue as long as they find the right person for the job. Just make sure you make it clear that you are planning on returning and that you love being an art teacher! Best of luck to you!

  10. Oh geez....I have had similar situations with principal's before and it stinks! I am apalled that your administrators are treating you so unprofessionally. You must document EVERYTHING! Go above their heads and speak to their superiors and tell them about what you've endured. Are you an NEA member? If so, talk to your union rep and get their advice. As far as the pregnancy issue, ain't nobody's business but your own. Good Luck and keep sharing! We are all in this together.