I am in the middle of week five at my new school, and let me just say how AMAZING the difference is from DC to here! Beginning with the positives..
1. I am in my third year of teaching art (that’s a big one by itself)
2. I only teach K-5 art now (rather than prek-8th grade!!! ahh!) and have about 300 students total (rather than 400 or so!)
3. I teach 3 to 4 classes a day (not FIVE), and I get longer than 5 ridiculous minutes of prep time in between! THANK YOU! The kids benefit from this even more than I do!
4. I have a smartboard, tons of art materials, two sinks, and my own fridge! (didn’t have ANY of this in DC)
5. My charter school has had the same principal since the beginning (about 12 years ago), and most of the staff has also been there since the beginning (not to mention that a few have fostered some of the kids for a time or are still doing so!) aka: the people REALLY care about the kids and are willing to dig their heels in and be committed to what they’re doing for the long haul (which even though I may not be an art teacher forever,… because I may go back to school for art therapy… I am inspired and appreciative to those that teach their ENTIRE career in the SAME district. This really makes a huge impact on the community to have STABILITY and CONSISTENCY of staff! Props to all of you who have done/are doing this!)
6. We have a school-wide discipline plan using colored cards for behavior and a “cool cash” incentive where kids can buy stuff once a month with their paper money in the library. EVERYONE does this.
7. I can get to work in my CAR (no metro this time baby!!) in about 10 minutes! Yahoo!
8. First graders are NOT on the same floor as middle schoolers (WORD TO THE WISE: THIS SHOULD NOT EVER HAPPEN IN MY OPINION! Not in urban OR suburban areas! Inappropriate…)
9. We have a gym that I can coach hip hop in (not a cafeteria!), and even crazier, I get PAID for my after school coaching!
10. Maybe my favorite… EVERY CHILD HAS A MENTOR! So great!
The only negative I can even think of at this point, is that my classroom is not connected to the main building, so I feel a little isolated sometimes. On another note, this can also be a positive…. because I’m not interrupted constantly like I use to be! I hope that Hope is able to provide some of these 10 things for the betterment of their teachers and their community (or shall I say DC or the Imagine Charter Board.) Keep on keepin’ on Hope staffers- you are on tough ground I know! Don’t give up, there is still hope