- Wedding: May 2019 - City, State
OKAY. I am working on my master’s in elementary education, so slightly different than where you’re headed but I can give some insight into the teaching world.
You might lose time for your own art during your first year teaching. 99% of teachers I know lose themselves a little bit their first year. Some lose themselves for longer, but teachers are allowed their own interests and do not have to sacrifice their identity to improve their teaching. It’s really hard not to go all in, but that’s why so many teachers burn out so quickly. You need to develop boundaries.
A lot of teachers feel like they’re never doing enough for their students. The system is stacked against them, and 99% of teachers are very empathetic and caring individuals by nature. But they are people too. They deserve to fulfil their interests as well. It takes time, but there is a balance where you can fulfil your own loves, and be an amazingly involved teacher. You can find the balance.
All the art teachers I know were working on their own projects on the side. Sure, they can’t totally drop everything and work on that during the school day, but they have free time still. And in some districts, taking an art course in one of your own personal interests would count as PD, which fulfils your interests and a job requirement.
Also, student teaching is a great experience and can lead to some great connections – even to more alternative art teaching opportunities. So don’t write that off quite yet.
And, who’s to say that you can’t teach for a couple years while building a more focused portfolio, then move on to get your MFA? To get into an MFA program is more about your portfolio than your major. My best friend is working on her MFA in Costume Design right now, and she was a psych major. But she had an impressive portfolio, and that’s what they cared about. I mean hell, I majored in history and dramatic arts, with a minor in German language, and here I am, working on my masters that has absolutely nothing to do with any of those things. Your major now does not define what you go on to do – besides the technicalities of licensure.
Teaching may lead to some great connections, and may teach you more about your own style and focus as an artist. I promise you will have time to do your own work while you teach. Teachers have their own interests and their own lives. We are still people with hobbies and families and side projects. You do not have to sacrifice your happiness for your job.
Check out an art teacher on instagram named Cassie Stephens – she’s an amazing teacher with a wacky style — but she makes her own art themed clothes and costumes because they involve some of her favorite mediums and art styles. But that’s something she loves to do as an artist on her own time, for herself.