Having officially completed our degree requirements, Columbia’s MAT class of 2015 is on the job search—a few are already hired. I registered my teaching license last week, hours before news about CPS cutting 1,400 jobs began circulating on social media. More than a few people have encouraged me to be looking at jobs in the suburbs and private schools, but my heart is pretty set on being an urban public school teacher. The politics between CPS and the Chicago Teachers’ Union are looking to only get messier as the new school year approaches, but none of it makes CPS students any less deserving of great teachers.
My digital teaching portfolio is live after many weeks of writing, editing and designing, though the work that it showcases is really two year’s worth. We wrapped things up with one last celebration at Columbia with faculty and then we were set loose on the job hunt. I’m halfway through an online Algebra course to fulfill a teaching license prerequisite, but I officially have a Master’s degree and a registered teaching license. It is strange to not be in school—we hardly had a break for two years. Even more strange is not seeing my cohort multiple times a week.
A few weeks ago I completed my CPS Quality Pool interview, which makes me eligible to apply for jobs through the CPS careers website. I’m constantly refreshing the site looking for newly posted positions and submitting my materials immediately. I’ve also attended a career fair, leaving my newly polished resume with school administrators. So far I have one interview lined up, and I’m hoping for some calls and emails in the coming week.
I don’t know where I’ll end up in the fall. I’m hoping the next two to three weeks hold an answer. Teaching is not a glamorized profession and enrollment in teaching programs has decreased nationwide. My hope is that decline is a passing trend. As many things are shifting in the Education Department, Dr. Anne Becker has left Columbia alongside Cohort 22. Having made calculations based on her own elementary/high school teaching career and how many art teachers she has since educated at Columbia, in her parting email to us she wrote,
If you have a 30-year career as an art educator (similar to my elementary and high school career) we will have touched the lives of this many young art students. . .
That’s a pretty significant impact being made by the graduates of Columbia’s Visual Art MAT.
Creative Cole Book Update:
Our student chapter of the IAEA/NAEA created and raised money to print over 200 copies of an activity book for patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital. A group of us were able to make the drop off recently. We received the following thank you from Justyna, our contact at the hospital.
On behalf of our patients, their families and our staff at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, I would like to thank you and your Columbia College Chicago graduate art students for your generous donation of Creative Cole Books and crayons. Your contribution and the part you played in creating a better, brighter and more imaginative healing environment for our children are greatly appreciated. The books are amazing!
Over and over again, we hear from families that the child-friendly and the family-friendly comforts they find at Lurie Children’s are what their children remember most about being in the hospital. Without the support of generous people like you we would not be able to create this kind of fun, inventive and family-centered environment, that is so important to our patients.