Saturday, February 26, 2011

A word on professional development

I love teaching, I wouldn't really want any other kind of career that let me work directly with people and expose them to my love for art.  I'm coming to a crossroads though.  I feel like I need to find a new direction for my teaching.  I've been working mostly with at risk students most of my teaching career.  Students from mostly low-socioeconomic backgrounds and caste aside.  Most of the kids are low in several skill sets (including social skills). 

I currently teach in a lock down facility.  This is my 4th year there, and I love the students I teach.  They're a big challenge.  And I love challenges.  I feel like I offer them the best I can at the moment.  But I feel like I'm leaving out huge components for them.  Most of them are transient, many of them are in and out of the school.  Some students I've known all 4 years, off and on.

I'm trying to figure out what I can do to better my teaching.  I've checked into the basic programs I'm interested in, such as MFA in Painting, MA in Art therapy, and recently Certificate in IB programs.  Clearly the most time consuming one is the MA in Art Therapy.  Next.... MFA, and least IB.

When I factor in the cost and time of each of those programs, the IB certificate is the most attainable.   However, I'm not sure if it's the one that would most benefit my students.  I don't know, it might be just right.  However, this week, I became suddenly worried about my career.  My principal met with me to talk about the possibility of me getting my Art Therapy License.  I told him that it would take 3 years of work, and be very costly.  He said maybe there was something we could do about that.  But now I'm wondering if I should be worried.  It is completely appropriate for an art therapist to be in my current position, and I'm wondering if my job is dependent on my professional development choice.

I'm frustrated by the way my school district handles professional development.  All school districts are cutting back, and now to be reimbursed is a first come first serve until the money runs out.  And of course there is a cap on what you can ask for.  In this area, a three credit, in-state, graduate course is $3000.  Our school district will pay 1/2 of that per semester.  It's actually quite ridiculous.  How am I supposed to get the professional development I want...and actually need?

Yes, I do feel that teachers should be as current as possible in practice and curriculum, but it's up to the districts to really aid in the process.  I feel like my only choice is to participate in meaningless free professional development offered by my district, which in reality offers me nothing that relates to my students or my area of teaching.

So, I'm frustrated.  I want pursue something, anything, but am not sure what I should do.  Maybe this is the time to talk to my principal, and see how he can work with me.  I think he would tell me if my job was actually in jeopardy.  So I'm suspecting I'm pretty safe for the next school year, at least.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Heart Day!

Or as I like to say... the day of CHOCOLATE!  No matter what, for now...there is always chocolate.  I will partake in many forms of it today..... candies, hearts, brownies.... I love chocolate. And if I could perhaps change the idea of this holiday, it would ONLY revolve around the good stuff. 

Ahh, so love, yes, show your love...but eat and savor your chocolate.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Applying to get out there!

So, we may be a day late and a dollar short for the teaching international recruitment fair this year, but we decided to throw our hat in the ring anyway.  There were only 4 schools we could apply for anyway, because of what we could teach.  We wrote a really good cover letter and revamped our CV and added a picture of us from Italy.... So maybe someone will investigate or give us a reply.  If not, we're ready for the next round a year from now.

I've been wanting to put my hat into the ring for sometime now, and since J is still looking and searching high and low for a permanent job, I finally got him on board.  Is he still going to be looking for a job to stay state side?  Sure! But at the rate this economy is going, I have a feeling we'll be in the same spot as this past year. 

It's good to break the mold every once in a while, I tell him, get out of your comfort zone! See what's out there! You never know where it can take you!  So if we don't get a job this time around, maybe it will lead to other avenues of thinking for the both of us.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The year of the Rabbit

This must be the year for me, because I was born in the year of the rabbit.  And from what I hear it's supposed to be a much calmer and peaceful year (all for it). I mean it doesn't it kind of seem like the year of the tiger (last year) was something quite ferocious?

Well Happy New Year (again)!  And I hope that this one brings you pleasantries and happiness.  Because, be forewarned,  the next year is the year of the DRAGON!.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Lacking in postage

Sorry, just keeping my eyes posted on what's happening in Egypt.  What an incredible time.  I'm sorry to see it turn after yesterday.  The protest I saw yesterday is completely different then the violence I saw today.  I know that a revolution can not make a society go backwards.  But I hope, really hope, that Egypt will be able to unify itself again.

I was lucky enough to experience some real bouts of national pride when some friends and I attended the African Cup Final in Cairo.  Egypt won!!!   And I utter saw happiness, joy, and really loud celebration! 

I'm glad that they're back on line, I'm glad that we're able to get some more authentic reports. These are some photos of where I lived .