I was offered two art positions today and I’m having trouble choosing! Help!
A little about me: Recently art certified, have previously taught art in an afterschool program, taught a full year of 5th grade, subbed 1 ½ years in all sorts of settings
About the jobs:
Distance from house
Large, beautiful classrooms with kilns
Same prep period length
Nice, supportive principals
School A is K-8, regular ed, 850 students, 30-35 kids per class
School B is K-8, special needs (ED, MR, etc.), as well as being the alternative 45 day placement for kids with behavioral issues, 80 students, 8-10 per class with 2 aides
So my question is, which do I choose? Pros/cons? Is it just personal choice? I’m feeling overwhelmed by sheer numbers with school A, and overwhelmed by the unique nature of school B.
How are you at working with students with severe disabilities? My students with emotional disabilities might throw the art supplies, hide under tables, run out of the room, refuse to try something, etc. My students with cognitive disabilities may need some hand over hand assistance, they may have some severe medical needs (wheelchairs, feeding tubes, bathroom issues).
Can you ask to observe the students in school B and see if these are students you could work with?
On another note, for many of my students with severe disabilities, art was the one class that was a release for them. The class that they truly enjoyed and acted more as a therapy than a class.
I would actually go with School B because of the small class size and the aides to take care of special needs children and behavior issues. That would free you up completely (hopefully) to teach. Also, it has been my experience that special needs children adore art and would really appreciate your efforts.
Swansong has a great point - kids with disabilities do typically respond well to art and you might find the experience really rewarding. It depends on how much you want to take on. Personally, I'm going into my first year of teaching and would find school B very intimidating due to my lack of experience not only in teaching special needs, but just lack of teaching in general. I'd want to leave school B for a more experienced professional than myself. However, it is a personal choice for you based on your comfort level and confidence in your own skills. Beginning teaching is hard - is taking school B/school A going to make it harder? (I know you are not a 1st year teacher, but I still think starting out is hard).
Best of luck - either way, you must be awesome for having not ONE but TWO! job offers!
I also find school B intimidating for a new teacher. It's hard to "teach" when discipline may be such a big issue. Your large class size would probably equal the smaller class size because it has special needs.
This is my opinion: Art can be an amazing outlet for kids with special needs/behavioral issues. If you go into that setting, go in whole-heartedly and open minded. They need someone who will understand them, not be annoyed with them. They will also know if you are unsure of yourself and take advantage of you. Special needs kids have enough people that look at them with fear and frustration. It's not easy for a teacher, I know. If you have that special place in your heart for it, and feel you can make a difference, go ahead.
If that all scares the bejeezes out of you, go with job A.