In this twenty-something year of my teaching career, I have decided to push myself to branch out of my comfort zone and try some new experiences professionally. I am the definition of an introvert and I spend a lot of time in my little room, at the end of my long hall, minding my own art teacher business. So... in the spirit of personal growth, I said yes to two big opportunities, both involving a little give and take.
The Give-ing part: I am very excited (and a lot nervous) about giving my very first conference presentation ever at The Art of Education's Winter Online Conference coming up on the 25th - yay and yikes!!! I am sharing information about using student art portfolios for goals and growth, which is a topic near and dear to my heart, and I am hoping that collaborating with many of you on this topic will be a great learning experience for all of us. There will be fantastic presentations all day long, and you can collaborate from the comforts of your home and pj's! I got a special "swag box" in the mail today with some really cool samples and freebies - you know they are some of the best things about attending a conference! Hoping to "meet" many of you on the 25th and get some inspiration going for our second semester. To sign up or find out more, check out www.theartofed.com - your art teacher headquarters for professional development.
The Take: Here is where I could use some advice, if your district has recently undergone compensation reform. Many districts across the country have changed the way teacher salaries are earned, and many more are in the works of reform, like my own. I would love to hear what you think is working or not working in your new salary format re: base pay raises, opportunities for stipends/bonuses, compensation for student growth/hard-to-staff positions/evaluations, etc.
Last summer, again in the spirit of challenging myself (or now that I think about it, maybe it was a hormone fluctuation- a lot of that going on lately... hmmm :) ), I signed on to be a part of my county's Teacher Leadership Forum on compensation reform, and have now moved on to the 16 member design team for Strategic Compensation. I am the only fine arts/special areas representative and I want to be a strong voice for all of us "non-tested subject" teachers. We are just in the beginning stages of developing a whole new system of compensation to replace the old and out-of-date step and level system, and although it is a little intimidating and a huge responsibility, I know that this change is going to be beneficial for all teachers who do their jobs with heart, gusto, and professionalism. Looking forward to hearing your experiences! Thanks friends.