Why I left teaching


About four years ago I thought my world was crashing down. I was a freelance graphic designer, working on my art on the side, and most of my time was devoted to being a stay-at-home mom. Then, my husband found himself looking for a new job. Since we both had been in the advertising world for years, an industry that hires and fires pretty regularly, this was a challenge we knew how to handle and it became just part of the gig. Around the same time, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. As the child of older parents, I was often told that they would not be around forever. That didn’t make the fact that it was happening any easier. My mom was in her eighties, so she decided that the pain of treatment wasn’t worth the slim possibility that it would prolong her life. She and I were best friends. It was devastating to me and still is. She was also a financial safety net for us. Whenever we needed a little to help get by, mom was there to pitch in.

In 2015 I found myself in need of a steady job to help my family make ends meet while my husband looked for a new job. I knew that a position for teaching art was opening up at my children’s school. I had never taught before, except my own children and at Sunday school. But I knew and loved art and the school took a chance on me. The last three years was an amazing opportunity for me. I learned so much about kiddos and their wonderful, developing personalities. I learned a great deal more about project management (ask any teacher, they will tell you half of what they do is project management, especially for art) and how to communicate more effectively in a shorter amount of time. I loved it! I really loved the hugs, the sweetness and the gratefulness of my students and their parents. Every day wasn’t easy. As a matter of fact, it was pretty difficult on many days, but the kindness I received back made it worthwhile. I love my school, and am beyond grateful for the opportunity to become a member of its family.

The school is a growing place, and by that, I mean the school is growing in numbers each year. My job started as a 20 hour a week job with a few outside tasks. It grew into full time hours. In the meanwhile, I kept painting. My art career has taken off. It has been a slow takeoff, but that is because I haven’t had the time to nurture it. While I was teaching I became a studio artist at Artspace and gained representation at two galleries. Currently, I also have three exhibitions on my plate for this year and next. Needless to say, a decision had to be made. Spending full-time hours on teaching was more than I had to give if I wanted to continue growing my art career. I gratefully found a perfect compliment to my art practice. I found a new part-time position as a marketing associate with a non-profit advocacy organization called Arts North Carolina. Through this position I have learned about how the arts in North Carolina get funded and I help impact the growth of the arts in the state. I am thoroughly enjoying this new job. A big positive is that the position gives me the freedom to spend time in my studio and work more fully on my body of artwork.

My mom always said, when one door closes another will open. This is certainly true in my life. The challenges I have faced – big and small – have lead to new opportunities. I am excited to see where these new opportunities take me now.

Follow along with my work over the next few months and keep in touch!