Tuesday, May 8, 2012
More toothpaste batiks, and some news REVISED
(The batiks first, and I'll tell you the news after the photos) The batik on the left above may be my favorite. It was done by a sweet Down Syndrome 5th grade girl and I am so proud of her.
In the next two, the one on the right really cracks me up. Why did he think he needed to label the sun?! Too cute!
A few more... Actually the unicorn on the right below is not quite done - I'm sure the artist will be putting a black pupil in the eye.
Blogger insists the next two need to be sideways. I'm not sure what that black thing is next to the dragon on the right. It looks like a stoplight, doesn't it? I don't think that's what it is.
And now for the news...
THE NEW ART TEACHER
As of last night, my replacement has been officially appointed. I've known about it for a while, but I didn't feel I could say anything until it was official. But no, it is not Art Teacher Barbie.
The school district posted the job when I told them I was going to retire, but they never actually conducted any interviews. Instead they hired from within our staff.
The new art teacher has been teaching in the district for a number of years now, as our elementary computer teacher and in the past couple of years also doing some technology training with older kids. Her tenure area, however has been elementary. So when they decided they were going to cut her program, she could have chosen to become an elementary classroom teacher, but she would have "bumped" our least senior elementary teacher. The district was aware that she had art certification, so they offered her the opportunity to take my job. She taught art early in her career for a year, but has not since then, though she has worked with kids in summer camp programs and more.
My opinions are rather layered.
First of all, the new art teacher is a coworker and friend, and I know she is bright, hard-working, and capable, and she has the advantage of knowing all the kids, knowing the quirks of our little school district, and wanting to make this work. Like me, her kids are grown, so she, like me, should have the time to give the job her best. I'm sure she'll do well, though it will be a surprise for the kids to see someone they've known in one role suddenly become something completely different, and I expect they may challenge it at first. It will be a challenge for the teachers as well. They will be on their own with computer instruction. There are many things outside of the actual teaching that she has done for years that will have to be taken over by someone else - from putting class lists on the network "staff common", to making the graduation videos for the 8th grade and kindergarten, to creating the PowerPoint for the monthly Character Ed assemblies. And teaching art after such a long absence will be a very new experience for her, and I'm sure she will face challenges, especially dealing with those presented by the Common Core and Race to the Top.
So, dear new art teacher/friend, if you happen across this post, what I am about to say is not about you; it's about the way the hiring was done. I'm confident that you will do great, and I know that the elementary staff will support you wholeheartedly. BUT - but I am appalled that the administration/board of education didn't think that, when hiring a replacement for someone who has built a solid & respected program over 27 years, that at least there should be an INTERVIEW, with questions such as: "what strengths or types of expertise do you bring to this position to make you the best possible candidate? I'm appalled that the administration NEVER ONCE consulted with me or informed me about the decision they were making, which in several instances put me in a very awkward position. As a matter of fact, I feel that they have been avoiding me completely. Not a word. I'm insulted, and feel a bit hurt that they didn't feel that I should be included in the process. It's basically all about money, and nothing more. I do not feel like they care about the art program at all. (And again, that does NOT mean that the new art teacher will not do a great job; I'm confident she will, and I look forward to hearing about her successes in the coming year. Hopefully she'll be more organized than me and the room won't look like such a disaster a year from now!)
NOW FOR THE "REVISED" PART OF THIS POST.
As of this morning, I don't actually know WHO will be teaching art in my place next year. When she agreed to take the job, she was promised some guarantees about job security, since she was leaving one tenure area with seniority for another where she will be least senior. But the written guarantees haven't quite materialized in the fashion they were promised. So we're in limbo. I feel so bad for her, to be put in this position, but her job security is paramount. So I'll keep you all posted, and in the meantime I'll keep waiting to find out who will be getting the keys to the art room..... Sigh.
And finally, I'm sure you all have heard today of the death of Maurice Sendak. Here's my favorite line from my favorite of his books (actually one of my all-time favorite children's books), In the Night Kitchen:
Mr. Sendak, we will miss you.