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Back to School

back to school career change gina plaitakis Aug 28, 2009
woman at gallery

by Gina Plaitakis

photo by pexels

As my daughter enters first grade, I too will be returning to school, for the first time in 20 years, to study for a master’s in fine arts education

The summer has flown by, and school is starting in a week for both my daughter and myself. Sophia will be entering the first grade. I will be entering a master’s program in fine arts education. How did I get here?

Some months ago I started researching local colleges and universities to see what programs they had for becoming a certified art teacher. I decided to go with a state university rather then a private college because tuition is much cheaper, and I found a school that has a good art and education program. I emailed the program supervisor with a few questions and the next thing I knew, I was being interviewed for a spot in the program.

It was a little crazy because it all happened so quickly and I had to scramble to prepare for the interview. The professor wanted to see examples of my fine art drawings, paintings, photography, etc., plus a sample of my academic writing, and my transcript from Cooper Union. Unfortunately, a lot of my college artwork has been lost over the past 20 years due to giving it away, losing it in a basement flood, and multiple moves. However, I was able to pull together a number of pieces that I had kept and framed. Luckily, I also still had a copy of a college thesis I had written. If only I knew 20 years ago how all of these things would be important in the future, I might not have been so careless. Nevertheless, I did my best to go well prepared and I brought three different portfolios, including my photography and advertising art-director books. The professor was most interested in my drawings, paintings and collages but appreciated seeing everything.

The interview went well, and I was accepted into the program on the basis that I keep a 3.0 average. Since it’s my first time going to school in 20 years, I decided not to overdo it by taking too many credits too soon. I’m taking two courses, one of which is a day of student teaching. I’ll have an art teacher mentor whom I will be working with one day a week at a local elementary school. I’ll have the opportunity to observe as well as teach a few lessons. The program is writing intensive, which makes me a little nervous, but I also can’t help being excited. Am I ready for this? Can I handle it? Well, I won’t know unless I try.



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