From: Tracy Fortune
I started a new job this past fall. After 10 years at middle school, I moved to one of the high schools in my school district. While I had taught high school before, it had been a number of years since I had worked with older students. I am not sure why I was surprised, but it was definitely more of a transition than I expected. The change meant a new building with new staff, new daily schedule including starting an hour earlier, and planning for new courses. I was surprised not to have a printer in my room and to have limited access to photocopying. I have a great and helpful arts department, but it still took a while to figure procedures and expectations for the day to day and special events of a different school.
This school year started earlier than usual for us and although I worked hard at the end of the summer it was a big job to set up my new room. I realized once the school year started, I had to be more patient with myself. I worked for ten years at the same school (we did move into a new building in year 8) and over that time frame I made hundreds of changes to improve the flow and look of the space, to plan units and assessments, manage materials and equipment, and learn the ins and outs of a school building and its staff. It was unrealistic to get to get everything figured out in a few weeks or even a few months.
Now that the school year is almost over, I can look back and see how far I have come. Overall the year went well and the second semester was so much easier than the first. I loved working with the older students and enjoyed conversations and inspiring students to create amazing art. Our school’s year end art show called Artasia showcased the hard work and creativity of our students and the dedication and guidance of our arts department.
I am looking forward to summer break, but am already excited for next year. I found out I will be teaching AP Art next year, so I will have new but fun challenge on my plate. If you have a new job next year, take my advice and Be Patient With Yourself! You don’t have to be perfect and remember it takes time to create a learning environment and curriculum to suit you and your students.
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