After fifteen years teaching graphic design at a community college, I've decided to retire and move on. It has been the best fifteen years of my career life thus far, but hopefully not the last best.
Coming to public education as a late career is perhaps the reason it was never boring, only sometimes frustrating but ALWAYS invigorating. It was a difficult decision to move on...leaving something you love is never easy, but as I've said previously...when it's time, it's time. In retrospect, what I loved about this particular career should lead me into a direction for my next...right? So what was it that was so satisfying in an environment that professionals are leaving by droves?
Teaching at a community college ticked off a couple of my major 'wants' list in a career...
First and foremost, was the ability to interact with a diverse group of people and have an impact on who they were and where they were going in their careers. I absolutely never tired of these students. There were some who made me wonder about my ability to teach anything, there were others who made me feel like superwoman and that I could teach everything, and there were still others that will be friends for life...and made me feel both!
Secondly was the ability to control my own environment (within reason) and schedule. Although our community college may be unique in this respect, there was NO micro-management of the details surrounding our disciplines (our at least not graphic design.) Working with the previous full-time instructor and mentor for the first year, I was allowed to develop the design curriculum, write the syllabi, teach the classes, hire the adjuncts, work within a specified budget, and take responsibility for the growth or decline of the program. I'm happy to say that it grew and is still has great potential for more growth under the new instructor.
Finally, this career allowed me (no, in fact forced me) to stay relevant in a quickly changing, technology driven career.
The only thing I would add to my next career...well actually a couple of things...I would like to get rich :) and travel. Yes, I know, I know...all the platitudes about what money can and can't buy...a more pragmatic me knows that I already have the richest of riches...kids, grandkids, dogs, good health, home and security...the dreamer in me still wants to buy an island in the Gulf and hang my personally created masterpieces in major art museums all over the world.
I'll keep you posted on my progress...