Anyone else a primary/secondary school teacher?

  • I teach elementary art and desperately want out. In one podcast they talked about creative bank account and sometimes working a creative job can drain you before you get to your own personal stuff. My degree is in fine art, not education. I struggle to figure out what's age appropriate. That combined with all the other things teachers are asked to do, most of the time I feel like I am drowning. I was just wondering if anyone else is trying to get out of the teaching field.

  • I've been teaching high school for six years. This is the first year I've ever seriously considered leaving, due to the struggles of Distance Learning and a pattern of apathay and disrespect I see emerging from my students. I'm going to give it one more "normal" (read: non-COVID) year, but if it's still the same, I'm starting an extraction plan.

    It's been especially difficult to find time to work on my book recently (I work while the kids work on their projects and then until I drop that night). At some point you have to decide if teaching is what you really want, or if you would be happier and healthier somewhere else.

  • Hi I'm an art teacher in Sweden, the education is quite different here so it's not fair to compare. This year I decided I wanted to combine the teaching with som work of my own. I still like teaching but I feel I need the input from creating myself to be a better teacher and the teaching helps me being a better artist. My only tip, find those few students that makes all the other shit worth it. ❤ Do what makes you happy and not what's expected of you

  • You're definitely not alone. I have been on my way out the teaching door for the last few years. I know that drowning feeling. When you are a teacher and the culture says that you need to work outside of your contracted hours, it is hard to find time for almost anything else. You definitely need to have a good support system to make the transition. This year is my jumping off point. I've been waking up at 4 am to get some hours of work in before I go teach school. Working early in the morning has been one thing that has increased my efficiency. I originally planned on going part-time teaching next school year, but that didn't work out. I'm just glad I know this early. If you have Summer off, it might be a good idea to hold onto that job because it can allow you to work more when school is out. But if you are looking for more consistency, I would try working in the mornings or getting a less demanding job. I am in the process of beginning to sell my personal work and get my name and portfolio out there for jobs. Have you taken the SVS Learn course on getting freelance work? It's taught by Will. It's a process and a lot of items to juggle when you are making the switch... may the Force be with you.

  • I've never taught in a school before, but I have taught kids in the private sector on occasion, so I'm not sure if this will be helpful, but I'll throw my experience out there:

    There is a TON of opportunity for a private art teacher. Parents love sending their kids to a "real" art class--not a paint-by-number type of class, but where their kids will really learn to draw. You can also find teens interested in art, too, and even some adults.

    I get that you don't want to teach at all anymore, BUT I might suggest that you switch to teaching private sector art classes as an intermediary step to getting out of teaching. Teaching is not what I want to do all day, either, but there are some serious benefits to teaching private art classes:

    • You can control your own schedule. (Which means more time to draw.)

    • You get to design your own curriculum, no bureaucrats hovering over you about it. (If people don't like it, they'll just go somewhere else!)

    • The students you get are more likely to WANT to be there and learn art.

    • You can "fire" students you don't like.

    • You can teach different age levels. (I find I like teaching teens and adults more than little kids, personally, for example.)

    • This is a niche kind of area, and people are willing to pay a decent amount for it. (Times each student in a class... it can add up!)

    It takes some time to build a teaching business, so it's not a no-brainer. And this doesn't solve the problem of feeling creatively drained, so it might not work for you. But since you already have some idea of a curriculum and how to teach, my point is that it could be a much smaller/faster jump to go private sector (where you might have more time to work on personal art projects and can work with kids/people who are less draining) than to just try to get out of teaching and make a career in art. I'm assuming that's where you want to go, ideally?

    As a side note: As a teen, I was apprenticed to an artist who did this, so I saw it first hand before I tried it. This teacher was phenomenal. She had her own curriculum and accepted students of any age, as young as six. Her curriculum was college-level. I watched her teach 6 year-olds linear perspective!! Of course the amount they got out of it was different than a teenager. But that's how big a difference it makes to teach someone who really wants to be there! I'm not sure what what specifically drains you in your current job, but when I've had to teach someone who isn't excited about art, that does it for me!

    Anyway, not sure if that's anything like what you would care to do, but hang in there! We've all had to work at that draining job at some point, sadly. Just do what you can do, and better times are ahead!

  • Also, you might check out the Ken Coleman Show podcast! (That's where I got this crazy idea of taking a smaller step instead of a big leap, lol!) If you want out of teaching 100%, Ken Coleman's questions and methods might help you figure out where to go and how to get there. 🙂

  • I am an art teacher for high school students in Atlanta, GA. I am doing freelance work in hopes of retiring into full-time illustration.

  • @MarksByMallory This is definitely one of my ideas. I have taught art classes in a more private setting before and loved it. My problem with the school system is multiple. Why should someone with no art experience tell me how good of a teacher I am? I don't want to give number grades for art. I am not just there to give you a planning break, I am fully licensed trained professional. Why do I have to go to trainings over looking at test data. I don't give exams! Private lessons definitely solves most if not all of the problems. When I did it before I just didnt know how to get enough clients to pay the bills.

  • @Sara-Nilsson I actually applied for an art teacher position a few years ago. Even made it to two rounds of interviews, but never heard back. I thought being in a different country might help shake it up a bit.

  • @Shelley-James-0 It can be tough to build a client base at the beginning, I feel ya! I've found/developed some interest by reaching out to churches, schools, homeschool groups, libraries, and even small businesses. A lot of these places have somewhere to post a flyer or bulletin, plus they're somewhat small communities, so if you get one or two people interested, they'll spread the word for you. If you can get to the point where you can rent a classroom space at Michaels or Hobby Lobby or similar, they'll sometimes do a little advertising for you. There are also FB selling groups and similar for most areas, and sometimes they'll let you advertise for free on there. Some places to try, anyway! 🤷♀

    My biggest problem has been a classroom space. I live rurally--it's only 20 minutes from town, but because it feels like the middle of nowhere, no one wants to drive "that far", lol. I have a nice studio, but in order to grow a teaching business for me, I've gotta get some kind of classroom in town.

    And of course, right now, it's iffy whether I can even hold a class in person, anyway... so I guess teaching online is another option?

    I hope you can figure out something! Best wishes on your endeavors 🙂
    Stay creative!

  • @MarksByMallory it was before covid last I checked but when I asked Michaels lets you reserve their classrooms for free. Obviously couldn't leave your supplies there but get a good system down, might be worth it to look into. (I am all about free until proven systems can support themselves)

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