(A picture of my elementary students’ knittings from their Handwork Class)
Teaching is a temporary job. A gig. Yesterday, we had a guest actor in our virtual drama club. He was on Broadway and shared his experiences with our students. One of the things that stood out is he said that he was tired of auditioning. One audion after another. You may get a yes, for every 10 or 1000 nos. Now he is leading a school. He is a principal. It was such a joy to have him be a part of our Drama Club!! He was dynamic and his enthusiasm for his craft and sharing his craft with the next generation is inspiring!
Nowadays, teachers are “on” more than ever and that takes a lot of energy. I am trying to think of a fairy tale that will go with my train of thought here, but I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. That idea cloud is still far away. When the idea cloud arrives, I will expand on that more.
Back to Gig Teaching. Acting is a gig job. Teaching is also a gig job. Of all the domains of PK-12 teaching, obtaining a job in special education is usually a year-by-year basis. It is gig teaching. Indeed, it is even more so for seasoned teachers. The more teaching experience one has, the more likely he or she will be hired as a gig teacher. We may be hired to clean up IEP paperwork etc. Often school districts say that they can’t find special educational teachers, but the reality is there are many dynamic veteran teachers out there who they just don’t want to pay for. With experience, usually comes a higher salary on the steps.
I am thankful I have a teaching job this year. I am teaching special education at a virtual school. When they onboard they only give 3 years teaching experience to all new hires. I’ve been teaching 17 years and took over a $16,000 pay cut compared to my normal salary. Fraction-wise on teaching salaries, that is a big chunk of my pay. I am supplementing my pay through other gigs. I have a TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers) store and a Minted Store where I sell photography. Needless to say, the pay cut is worth it at this time. I feel safer. My husband is also glad that I am teaching from our dinning room. It is a joy to see him peeking through the shoji screen from the kitchen when he makes coffee in the morning.
Lately, I have been percolating on my teaching journey. I am writing a book for pre-service special education teachers and sharing some of what I have learned along the way. Gig teaching. There is a meme based upon Dr. Seuss that us teachers share. It is as follows:
I will teach you in a room.
I will teach you now in Zoom.
I will teach you in a house.
I will teach you with a mouse.
I will teach you here and there.
I will teach you because I care.
So just do your very best
And don’t worry about the rest.
I love this!! The schools aren’t closed. Teaching is still happening. No matter the where, we are ALL in teachable moments. With each new gig and each new setting, we expand our repertoire of skills. Gig Teaching.
Lately, I have been thinking about what I can pluck from each of my gigs to incorporate it into my new gig at the virtual school. One of my favorite schools to work at was a Waldorf Inspired Charter School. They legally had to say Waldorf Inspired because apparently Waldorf is trademarked. The school is a public charter school that takes philosophies and pedagogy inspired by traditional Waldorf schools. I was one of the special education teachers there. In traditional Waldorf Schools, they typically do not admit students with special needs. Since our school was public, and took public funding, we admitted all students who requested to go to the school.
I was there to support and advocate for my students. I was also there to help my school with paperwork to help them secure federal and state special education funding. My students inspired me so much and I met some wonderful inspirational teacher friends along the way. I will share more of my experiences teaching at a Waldorf Inspired School soon. Have a happy weekend!!