I decided to take the summer off from photography classes because I burned out of doing just about anything this spring. Teaching middle school was draining on all levels, and I actually developed situational depression. Today is my second official day of summer break and while I have no job lined up for the fall, I feel a little bit better. I had nothing to write about in this blog since March because I was pretty numb. Now, I find myself looking back at the experience, and that is making me look forward.
A little back story:
I don't know if the administrator who evaluated me this year just didn't like me or should possibly retire. I was a new teacher not only at the school but also in the district, which made me a "probationary" teacher. By mid-fall, I understood that I was having a lot of classroom management issues and that I wasn't suited for teaching middle schoolers. It takes a very special and amazing kind of teacher to teach that age group. That's not me.
I was honest with my admin. Probably the big mistake. At first, I thought she was supportive of me looking for a high school to transfer to. She even said as much. But this spring, basically she made it so that I could not transfer. I had a deadline to find a school, but that deadline was impossible because no schools in the district would be offering positions until long after it. Long story short, I had to choose to resign from the district entirely.
A colleague at the school suggested that if one were to look for a silver lining, it might be that forcing me to resign also forced me to not see my position at the middle school as a fall-back in case I didn't find a high school to transfer to. That job was really killing me. I was so miserable that I would cry on my way home at least once a week. This blog isn't about teaching or adolescents or hormones, so I'm not going any further with the explanations, but if you've ever been a middle-schooler, you know what you and your peers were like.
At first, my colleague's advice meant nothing, but recently it has. My job situation being up in the air (again) as it is, I am forced to look at all of my options. I still want to be a set photographer, but in the meantime, I have been doing live theatre photography. It occurred to me that they are similar and that finding opportunities to do theatre photography might be easier than set photography. If I can build a portfolio through theatre, it might increase my chances to get the set work, especially when I am more ready skill-wise, to take it on.
I read several articles about live theatre photography, and so far I've been doing things correctly just by using common sense. I certainly picked up a few excellent suggestions, like setting the ISO to the fastest setting before the images get grainy, which for my Fuji X-Pro 2