Hello readers, colleagues, artists and virtual friends.
Once again I have been re-evaluating my path as an art educator. I am not giving up by any means, but wonder what my best options are to make more progress. Lately I feel like I keep hitting the same wall and getting extremely close to full-time employment, only to have things not pan out one way or another.
A friend suggest I try to open up my field of vision around that goal to seek more opportunities as well as a larger community of artists, educators etc. It has been an interesting experience. I visited a local art school, the oldest in New Jersey, which serves the community in a number of ways. I took a tour, attended the annual high school art exhibition, and have started to attend open studio time for ceramics and figure drawing. These things have been personally and artistically fulfilling.
A colleague connected me to an art education director for a nearby university. He was kind enough to speak with me and we had a very interesting conversation about different philosophies of teaching. He was a proponent of a psychology-based approach, and not only did he think that DBAE was inappropriate, but actually harmful to children's creativity and artistic growth. I wasn't entirely sold, but he did bring up some very thoughtful and justified evidence of his approach to teaching and to teaching students in the field of art education. He
also diplomatically said that even though I have a teaching
certificate, and am intelligent and a good communicator, that he still
doesn’t see me as qualified. And I do see his point. We were only having a phone conversation. We didn’t meet face to face, and he didn't view my resume, or see
anything that I have done as an teacher, so there was nothing to
persuade him otherwise. I told him to hit me with his best shot and he did.
We also discussed the options of waiting it out for a job to then take alternate route classes required the first year of employment, or taking a post baccalaureate program, having a better chance of getting a job, and then not needing classes to take up time in my first year on the job. Neither path guarantees me employment. I
am still at an impasse. And now I am questioning whether we should
knuckle down and pay for me to go back to school, or knuckle down and
keep trying for a position! I mean, the alternate route path is an option offered by the state of New Jersey, and does in theory qualify me to be hired by a school district.
Perhaps my studio is just what I am destined for. It has been a wonderful experience, and the community is very supportive and happy with the art their children make, and the progress they show. Then I think that maybe I should try for a retail location to grow on what I have established, but that seems downright impossible. If it were financially viable there would be one in every town, like nail salons and take-out food. So as much as I find it extremely important in any community, I am in the minority.
What are your thoughts? Is DBAE already an outdated and harmful approach in the classroom? Is it still just a terrible economy to be successful in gaining employment? I am I not qualified to teach? Is there a stigma attached to the alternate route educator? Should I stay put in my home studio and not pursue full-time employment? Comment and share your ideas with me. And I wish you all well in all of your art education endeavors!