Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Slow Down: Updating my Art Educator Portfolio

At the end of this year a few positions opened up in my district for middle school art teachers. And although I loved my current place, at that moment I thought to myself "This would be a great opportunity for me to try something new." Along with that I wanted/had to do a few things like:

1. Update my ANCIENT resume. No one needs to know that I coached a Blast Ball team in college or where I did my student teaching anymore. Also my address has changed TWICE since I've updated this bad boy.

2. Put together an Art Educator Portfolio(<---This is live binder a great resource for sharing files and keeping everything digital). Previously all I had to show was my college work and internship. I have experience now, gotta show off a little bit. Lesson plans, art club, blog shots, event planning and grant awards = BRAGGING RIGHTS. This is the only place where I can view the cumulation of all the hard work these past years. This is my own little personal showcase.

NOTE: I had a lot of help with the resume part! Andrea Keller is one of my best gal pals and biggest supporter when it comes to venturing out and trying new things! Also my best friend Mariam, who teaches in middle school, looked over my resume as well and gave me some advice. Gotta keep people around who challenge me to be better thats for sure!

2a. Update my Artist Resume. While I teach I am also a photographer/artist and do art shows when I have time. I had to go back and list a lot of the shows that I've participated in over the few years including various shows with ArtLoveMagic and Piranha Bear, and also a few contests that I've participated in(Like this one here that I actually won!).

3. Try to get an interview(if only for practice).  I am feeling a tad bit rusty and out of the loop when it comes to applying for a job, it has been 5 years after all.

4. Take a risk. Before I applied for any jobs I did several things. I prayed, A LOT. I made a list of PROs and CONs of taking a new position, new school, different responsibilities and different students. Most importantly I had to *dun dun dun* speak with my Principal. She was so understanding! I couldn't have asked for someone better.  I was very nervous, but after I explained everything to her she was very supportive. She is definitely the real deal when it comes to a principal. After all, her job as the top administrator on campus is not only to keep the best interests of the students in mind, but to also help you grow as an educator. Which is really what I was wanting to do, by applying for a new position.

So after this whole thought process, filling out paperwork and making sure I had a paper resume ready, everything was done and I felt so relieved. Then I waited, and waited and waited...and I never got a call or an email. I spoke with my Principal and the window for accepting transfers in the district was about to pass, so at this point it wasn't likely I was going to be contacted.

THEN...miraculously on a Sunday afternoon I got a call! I was very excited and feeling positive. I met the principal the next day after school and she asked a lot of great questions that I may or may not have been prepared for. Here are a few that really stood out to me:
1. List these in order of importance and explain why: Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance.
2. Describe your classroom management style.
3. You have one minute, tell me why I should pick you.
Interviews are a little bit of a blur for me, and so these are really the only ones that I clearly remember. I think its an adrenaline rush really, I literally feel my heart beat in my ears and my face feeling flush as I left the school. That last question really caught me off guard since I'm not one to talk about myself much less basically give a "sales pitch" so I stumbled on that a bit. However, I think it went smoothly and we had some great little conversations as she was asking and I was answering questions. She told me she'd contact me in the next few days so all that was left to do was wait. Next week goes by and no call. Afterward I find out later there is a new principal and hope seems lost then I got an email for a second interview over the phone with the VP and that went really well.

Then I got on an airplane and a few days of not having internet here in Malawi, I was able to access my work email on someones phone and I was offered the job! I am officially going to be a middle school art teacher this next school year! What a leap, but what an opportunity! It'll be a challenge, but I am excited to see the next level and their passion for art grow!

I didn't hear anything after a week. Was I a little bummed? Yes. Am I going to let this get me feeling defeated? No! I really feel like this was a great experience for me, even if it didn't pan out like I thought it would. I revved up my resume, updated my portfolio and felt like I took a risk professionally that I normally wouldn't have if I wasn't surrounded by such a supportive administration and colleagues. All in all I consider this a win in my book!  I wrote all of this prior so I definitely consider this a win in my book!

Have you taken steps to keep your Educator Portfolio at the top of its game? Have you ever considered changing positions?

Check back next week for a short blog titled: Is it REALLY art?

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