Sharing post from my personal blog Teachers After Hours...
For those of you who are not public school teachers, you may not be familiar with our recertification process. But, likes lots of jobs that require a license or certificate, we have to do professional development and log it in a state database as proof. We do this every 5 years. We need about 120 CPDU's (the units our development is measured by) and half of that has to relate to Special Education. We can achieve this through a variety of ways, from continued education, workshops, committees to presenting at conferences or creating student portfolios as "data".
I just finished entering my proof and clocked in over 300 hours. That was just for the past 3 years and didn't even enter all that I do. It really made me think:
1) Wow, I seriously love teaching, learning, and working for my students because all this stuff is done OUTSIDE the classroom
2) I feel good about this (warm glow, sentimental music) regarding how hard I work. <pat on back>
3) I know soooo many teachers who do lots and lots of stuff outside of classrooms too. We are awesome! <swelling music, collective pats on backs>
4)Ummmm, maybe I need to do a little more personal stuff in my life. How many paintings do I finish each year? How often do I go out for fun? Must work on being a bit more selfish.
You know, I am really proud of myself and the teachers I know. We are hard-working, self-sacrificing, loving, and perhaps a bit obsessive with our impact on Chicago's youth. My experience as an art teacher is not really all that unusual. We all work so freaking hard, day and night, school year and summer. My student's appreciate it, other teachers appreciate it, parents appreciate it. Hey most of the time we have the appreciation from the people who count. The system, not so much. But I'm not holding my breath.
I hope to take a bit away from this post, and spend more time on myself and family. Paint more, enjoy more, love more, explore more and NOT as professional development. That said, this summer I'm doing the MCA Teacher Institute, have a most awesome year long partnership with the MCA for the 14-15 school year, and plan to be a delegate to Finland with some other art teachers (fingers crossed I raise that money). Not to mention stage 2 with the inspiring Every Art Every Child program that gave me back my hope as a teacher.
So next time you see me, give me a gentle slap and hug, and tell me to go paint something!