Consider all options & practicalities before a drastic relocation
- Nevada also has the #1 drop out rate of high school aged children (Colorado is #3 - Arizona is #2).
It's just my personal opinion, but I'm sick of the Wild West,
the cultural acceptance of (club) drug abuse, etc. etc. of the surrounding areas. I find there is very, very little respect for the arts, education & mental health in this part of the country & it'll take a looonngg time for any of that to change.
Supposedly, there's a 'need' for teachers in Colorado as well. However, what they don't tell you until you have already paid an application fee & enrolled in a doctorate and/or cert program, that the situation is highly political & good luck getting a job if you are an 'outsider'. It doesn't matter that you already have a master's degree & that you've been working with children for over 10 yrs. I had spent my money, time & effort & as well as my former supervisors' & colleagues' time for nothing, when I could have focused on other endeavors.
Also, the 'desperation for special ed teachers' is actually a misnomer over here. There are very, very few programs or opportunities for special needs populations. I have spent hours consoling overwhelmed & tearful parents & frustrated children who feel like giving up because they couldn't find the right educational environment or couldn't go to a school because they can't drive because of their disability. The so-called special ed, is actually a call for overburdened ESL teachers & that situation is complicated in itself.
And at least in Colorado, there is no crossover professionalship... an art therapist can't work as an art teacher, a special ed affective disorders teacher can't work with kids w/ ADD or cerebral palsy, a therapist working at a clinic w/kids can't work in a school... Huh????
Kudos for those who want to stay in this area, but for me,
I'll take the inner city of any east coast city any time, even with all the problems. At least, there are alternatives & there are more heterogenous environments... where you don't feel like an outsider because of your sexual orientation, ethnic background, religion, uniqueness, etc. where there is funding for alternative programming for children & adults with different needs and a respect for the arts in education,
mental health, rehabilitation and society.
- I apologise for slamming against this south western region.
I know that people in the surrounding states are very proud of the places where they live & take it to heart if they feel someone is attacking their homeland. It is very beautiful & the weather & nature here is quite lovely & majestic. The terrain provides wonderful opportunities for vacations, camping, hiking & other nature oriented activities. I respect that pride even if I don't understand it, so if anyone on this list is from surrounding areas, my apologies for being harsh, but I'm not going to retract my opinion.
This was initially in response to someone who currently lives in NYC, who wants to make the transition from publishing to
teaching. I was giving the upsides & downsides of the field &
recommendations for making a smooth transition. It wouldn't
make any sense to recommend to that person to uproot her/himself & moved to Nevada, Colorado or Utah unless that person had a religious revelation or decided to devote his/her life to the mountains & forget about pursuing a career in art education.
FYI, I was extremely hopeful when I moved out here & thought I could make it work out. I thought I could convince people the power of the arts & encourage change. I thought I could make a difference. Instead, I struggled for 2 long yrs & dealt with people's resistant attitudes towards the arts, mental health & alternative education. I now realise that
one person cannot influence changes in a system that is so entrenched & resistant to modern change. It is much easier when the mindset of your environment is open to what you have to offer, even is the economy is terrible. The economy is terrible around the world right now, be it in NYC, St. Paul, Vancouver, London or Tokyo. But that will change much sooner than resistant attitudes...
If I can help others avoid the situation I placed myself in, at least it won't be for nought.
Yes, I agree that a person should weigh all their options before relocating, but I also think that each person's expectations and experiences are different. I lived in Arizona (right on the Nevada border) and taught art in a high school and I had a very good experience. People were very welcoming and showed appreciation for what I was doing. The only reason I left was because I was getting married and my husband was in the Air Force so we didn't have much choice. Opinions can be helpful, so I just wanted to share my good experience.
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