Hello any Secondary Art Teachers out there. I currently teach elementary “art” and I am really starting to hate it. I’m finding it intellectually and creatively suffocating. I’ve been applying for secondary positions and am having no luck. What’s your best advice to getting into secondary.

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Not a secondary art teacher anymore. I used to be, and I've interviewed and hired quite a few of them.

The first advice I'd give is to check your certification and make sure you're secondary-certified. Depending on circumstances, that can work several ways in my state (and probably yours). I'm not certified to teach elementary art. So long as you're cleared to work, that might be enough in these times. We're so desperate for staff that we're hiring completely unqualified people who promise to get certified eventually, on emergency permits. If someone who was actually certified applied, we'd probably snap them up.

From an interviewer's point of view, and thinking back to the years when we weren't so desperate for any warm body to put in the classroom, the qualms I'd have had about hiring an elementary teacher for a secondary position is that a lot of elementary art is pretty much crafting according to a pretty rigid set of instructions, where I'd want to see a secondary art teacher with a lot more knowledge of art theory and history, and more of an ability to help kids develop their own individuality (and skills). Highlight anything you can do in that direction. A portfolio is more important for an art teacher applicant than in really any other teaching position, and you want to show as much technical skill as you can. Also, have you taught any adult ed or recreational classes? If you can show student work from something like that, and PARTICULARLY student work where it's not "all these things look the same because they followed your directions to a T," that would go a long way to calming the worries I might have about hiring an elementary art teacher for a secondary position. Not "Painting with a twist," where all the paintings look the same. Something where you're helping people to develop their voices.

But these days, you can probably ignore that last paragraph. We're desperate to fill positions and willing to hire anyone. Ecstatic to hire someone who's at least qualified on paper.

Dig up those students' work from 7 years ago and make sure it's heavily featured in your portfolio. That's my best advice.

Not an art teacher but have a number of friends who are. Unfortunately, art positions tend to be few and far between. So you basically have two choices: stay where you are until the right secondary opening comes up or get a second certification, such as reading, math, English or whatever you are eligible for, move to a high school and then try to get transferred to art. You'll have to nose around in your district to find which would be the better bet.

One of my friends who was in a similar position to you gave this advice: make yourself known. Get involved with the art department at the district level. Volunteer for curriculum writing committees. Help set up and judge art shows. Help with interpreting standards. Promote art supply drives. Anything high profile, be there. You'll get your foot in the door and bump yourself up for consideration when openings do occur. And doing so might also help shake off your intellectual stagnation.

Best of luck to you!

I'm not an art teacher, but my colleague just convinced the district to let her make the move from elementary to high school. She knew there would be an opening, so she did some "wow" projects with the 6th graders to show them she could spin straw into gold.

Make yourself a portfolio of secondary art lessons. Check Pinterest for cross curricular lessons and make some samples.

Let us know how it goes!

Make sure you have a strong portfolio and that they see it? Too many teach art and can’t even demonstrate the skills and techniques involved.
Get involved in the NAEA and your state unit. Have a masters degree or be working towards one because the field is full of art teachers just happy with a first level salary to provide a family second income and no interest in being professional and raising the standards.
Whatever your media get involved in exhibitions and get your self exposure as an artist

Firstly, are you certified to become a secondary teacher? I don’t think many art positions are available these days in secondary, so you’ll have to connect with as many people as you can and keep looking around for new opportunities.

Many times it's a who you know type of deal, try to network your way to an interview. We have an opening but it's in Mass.

Update! …Snagged a secondary position! Woot woot! Goodbye elementary!

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