Two of the art teachers I work with are, how should I put this? Losing their shit. Two of them. And this isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed the unraveling of a fellow, experienced, art teacher. Or two. Or three. Which makes me wonder? Do we art teachers have an expiration date? A good-til date? And what is it exactly that makes art teachers fall apart so epically? Our hectic schedules? Our workaholic tendencies? Our inability to take one single moment for ourselves? All of the above?
Why do we put so much of ourselves into a job, a career, that gives so little back to us? Where does the driving passion come from that propels us to get to work an hour early every morning, work through our lunch breaks every day, and stay an hour or two after work every evening? Self-sacrificing seems to be a prerequisite characteristic for becoming an art teacher. That and multitasking, flexible, open minded and patient (although, I often find myself thin on that last one).
Do we set ourselves up for momentous burn-out, or are multiple factors conspiring against us that will eventually culminate with are inevitable self-destruction? Is self-destruction inevitable as an art teacher? Do I have a use-by date? Will I meet my end storming from the classroom, surrounded by a fury of curses, or will I go down in a melting pool of obsessive meddling and frantic busybody antics? Or will I be okay?
I’d like to think I’ll be okay and that I’ll survive this crazy career I’ve chosen for myself.