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college teachers

updated mon 18 oct 04


Louis Katz on sun 17 oct 04

"taking degree programs in art with the idea that you will
become a college professor are not a real good idea."

I don't like to be as discouraging as this about college teaching
propsects. I do like to be real. You have to distinguish yourself from
the other 200 applicants or you have to persevere and find the jobs
that are not well advertised. My peers from graduate school and
undergraduate school who I consider to be competent and wanted teaching
careers enough to make real sacrifices to get them, were snatched up in
less than five years. It took me ten years to land a full time tenure
track job in 1994. It was a very hard road for me. I don't regret it.
The ten years preceding my hire here I applied for nearly any job that
came up involving clay that did not also involve teaching art history,
painting, drawing, or printmaking. I applied for one wanting someone to
do glass, clay and photography. Oy.
When first out of grad school the reasonable jobs had about 200
applicants. There were about 25 each year I applied to. It took me ten
years to get one full time and tenure track. During that span I went to
Thailand, mixed clay for the Bray (also sales, welding,all sorts of
things),Taught in Memphis Tennessee, Columbia Missouri, Las Cruces New
Mexico and other places.
I went every year to CAA except the year I was in Thailand, about $1000
a year in application expenses. I spent countless hours labeling
slides, rewriting application letters, statements of teaching
philosophy, artists statements, resumes, slide lists, soliciting
letters of rec.
So I would say if this does not discourage you, go for it.
Looking back I would say to call every community college in a 1000 mile
radius in April and again in early August( maybe again in december)
asking if they need a clay teacher.
Aim to succeed and you probably will, given time, good work and
perseverence. Make usre you like teaching before you start because it
is hard to keep the energy up.