In the Art Room

Be Careful What You Wish For…

… because you might actually get it. And then… you… are going… to be… beat.

A few weeks ago I was complaining about not having a job and having a rough time finding a job. This week I survived three different first days at three different schools I’m now teaching at. Three. Yes, I said three. Within the span of (about) a week I had three interviews and all of a sudden I had three jobs. Technically, I have three part-time jobs, but financially speaking, I’m employed full-time with one school system (I won’t tell you which one, but I will tell you that it ranks in the top 20 of the largest school districts in the US). The schools I’m working in couldn’t be any more different from each other…

School A*
I teach at School A, a K-6 Elementary School, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m calling it school ‘A’ because it was the first school to hire me (and, coincidentally, it comes first in the alphabet). School A has about 775 students. The majority of the student population is White (Not of Hispanic Origin). School A has a 93% English Proficient population and a 3% Poverty Rate. Technically, the teacher school day starts at 8:40am and ends at 4:10pm. In reality, my school day here starts at 8:00am and ends at 5:00 pm. (Art teachers have a lot have prep work, okay?)

School B
I teach at School B, a K-6 Elementary School, on Mondays and Fridays. I’m calling it school ‘B’ because it was the second school to hire me (and, coincidentally, it comes second in the alphabet). School B has about 700 students. The majority of the student population is Hispanic. School B has a 53% English Proficient population and a 70% Poverty Rate. Technically, the teacher school day starts at 8:10am and ends at 3:30pm. In reality, my school day here starts at 8:00am and ends at 5:00 pm. (Based on the hours I worked today.)

School C
I teach at School C, a K-6 Elementary School, on Wednesdays. I’m calling it school ‘C’ because it was the third school to hire me (and, coincidentally, it comes third in the alphabet). School C has about 1000 students. The majority of the student population is Black (Not of Hispanic Origin). School C has a 73% English Proficient population and a 34% Poverty Rate. Technically, the teacher school day starts at 8:35am and ends at 4:05pm. In reality, my school day here starts at 8:00am and ends at 4:05 pm. (Because this is not a school I foresee myself hangin’ around too late. I just want to get in, do my job, and get out as quickly as possible. This school has some weird tug-of-war, authority challenging, petty ridiculousness going on that I want NO part of).

* These statistics are based on 2008-2009 demographic information. And heresy. 

 Boring statistics aside, my experiences at these schools are like night and day. And dawn. It’s going to require a lot of self-reflection, organization and patience to transition from school to school this year. Between learning three new school procedural plans, key terms and dynamic, I have three different classrooms to deal with/setup.

School A
I have a “new” art room. “New” meaning it used to be a resource room. It has no cabinets, no counters and no sinks. Oh, and no art supplies yet. At least I have a window though.

School B
I have a brand spankin’ new classroom. Brand spankin’ new meaning they just built it. As in it was started last Monday and move-in ready this past Wednesday. I share this art room with the Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday art teacher. He’s already set the classroom up, for the most part, and it’s nothing at all like the way I would set it up. And we don’t have any doors yet. At least I have storage and sinks.

School C
I share a classroom with the Monday-Thursday-Friday music teacher. Yup, I teach art in a music room. And it is tight in there! What with the music instruments and the eight tables they shove in there Wednesday morning so my 25-32 students can have a place to work. At least I have sinks and storage. No art supplies though.

At any rate, it’s going to be an interesting year. I’m excited to be working again, and I’m pretty sure this year’s challenges are either going to make me or break me. I’m hoping for the former.

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8 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Wish For…

  1. Wow – what a job! (jobs…) I shared a room w/a music teacher for a long time, so you have my sympathy – I found that the piano bench was a great place for distributing materials 🙂

    Thanks for following my blog (There's a Dragon in my Art Room). I had to check you out because I absolutely LOVE your blog name (I agree wholeheartedly – I DESPISE glitter) and I love the Ted Alexandro quote at the top of your blog. Great!

    Like

  2. Hmmm I could have sworn I just left you a commment where did it go? In case it shows up later, I'm not going to repeat myself, but I have a question I forgot to ask. I was wondering, where are you? (as in, what state do you live/teach in ?

    Like

  3. This sounds horrible! I am sorry 😦 I hate my schedule, but sadly reminding me that I could be traveling w/ no consistent home is a healthy dose of “shut up and stop whining”. I hope that you either find a new job or they are kinder to you in the years to come. Because this would break me.

    Like

  4. well, maybe this will make you feel better (or not). let me tell how things work here in my country (romania). we have no art rooms, we hold classes in the classroom (so i get to teach in six different classrooms every day) and then we have to clean up the mess so the kids could continue their activity. it really sucks, because we just have to walk around with our bags full of art supplies, plus we actually paint for 15-20 minutes, because it takes like 10 min to clean up.
    sometimes, they just give us some tables on the hall were we can work with the kids, but of course it also sucks because everyone can come and “say hello” or ask stupid questions or tell us we are to noisy and messy.
    despite all this, i still love my job!
    well, anyway, i came across your blog these days and i really like your approach. and i totally hate glitter :P.
    you can check my blog, i started teaching last year

    http://www.toata-lumea-picteaza.blogspot.com/

    sorry for the huge comment and for my bad english

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I just found your blog and feel a great kinship for your situation! I'm in my first year of teaching art–four schools, k-8, plus a pre-k and life skills class thrown in for good measure for a total of 32 different classes. I share two of my rooms with the music teachers. At one schools, I've been teaching in the cafeteria for 10 weeks until they can bring in a new trailer outside for me.

    I complain (a lot) about my situation, but I secretly still LOVE teaching.

    Like

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