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Day 19: Exploring Brooklyn, NY.
It appears Brooklyn has a sense of humour!
Sir Year 7: “Can I please borrow a set of headphones?”
Me: “Sure. Please give me a shoe.”
Sir Year 7: “A what?!”
Me: “A shoe.”
Sir Year 7: “You mean, like a SHOE shoe? Like, on my foot kind of shoe?!”
Me, internally: “What other type of SHOE is there?!”
Me, outwardly: “Yep!”
Sir Year 7: “Wow, it’s hardcore here at Pulteney, isn’t it?!”
And the thing about having brand new shiny Year 7s is that you get SEVERAL kiddies with the same size foot, and the same level of newness/scuffness to their shoes, so when it comes to actually collecting their shoes at the end…well, GOOD LUCK. 😝
Sir Year 7 No. 1: “Nah, that’s mine!”
Sir Year 7 No. 2: “No way! Mine’s newer-looking!”
Sir Year 7 No. 1: “Okay, well…does it smell like your shoe or mine?”
Sir Year 7 No. 2: “I AM NOT SNIFFING MY SHOE! JUST PUT THE THING ON, I DON’T CARE IF IT’S THE WRONG ONE!”
“Let it flow! Let if flow! Can’t hold it back anymore!”
These are MA POSSE. My gorgeous Year 12s, Class of 2018.
Love them to bits.
They are such a mixed set of personalities and abilities, but they care deeply for each other, lift each other up, and are learning to out-nerd each other with each passing day.
There are been tears, laughter, and immense amounts of coffee + chocolate consumed.
They inspire me to be my best teaching self, because of their sheer commitment and determination to be THEIR best selves.
p.s. As much as I’d like to think that I look like a student, that’s me in the red, nicely towered over by my crew. Don’t they look great?!
Hilarious. I have several students who are totally nerdy enough to do this!
Being a teacher is signing up to be creative, having a sense of humour, practising patience every day, and being surprised over and over. And the “laugh out loud” moments that make your cry and your stomach ache come as part of the deal, too.
Here’s one from yesterday.
This is what I sent out to one of my Year 12 Composing + Arranging students:
And here is the response I got back:
Not bad for a tortured soul! I particularly like the use of the word “crashy” in a sentence!
I was thinking today about where I’d like to head in the future. Right now, I’m up to my armpits in secondary school classroom music teaching, and I love it. It’s exactly where I want to be, and I’m happiest in the classroom, no matter how demanding the day, and love connecting + being in conversation with other teachers.
But if I were to ever raise a family, I would never inflict this intensity of full-time teaching upon my children, or my husband or partner. I would rather the be poor and living on a creative shoestring than stretched to the limit with no emotional energy to spend. I wouldn’t want to miss a moment.
So I thought about lecturing, composing full time, working at tertiary level, writing, doing workshops, and at the end of it all, I realised one thing to be true.
It’s not the intensity of work per se; it’s how much connection there is. No matter where I go, there will be demands, even if I step down from full-time. There will always be things competing for my attention, and if it’s not work, then it will be family, friends, my own expectations, creative ideas, community…all of it. All MESSY lot of it! And I realise, now in this little oasis of holidays, that I can only be grateful for this peace when I’ve had intensity of work. I don’t wish maximum loading on anyone; no-one should do that for a period of time.
But life goes in ebbs and flows; there will be mad scrambles and moments of calm, times where you won’t think you’ll make it through another step, and other days where you fly through with energy to spare. The thing is, it ONLY makes sense when there IS that variety and contrast. Joy only happens in the light of grief. Rest and repose only after a period of regular work.
So wherever I go in the future, let there be laughter. Let there be joyful connection that lifts me up and inspires my very authenticity and humanness. Let there be examples of courage and love ALL AROUND ME, EVERY DAY, asking me to be better. Because I can err on the side of caution, joyful as I find myself normally. Let me be moved and shaken by people who are heartfully alive all around me, that I may be alive always, no matter where my place or intensity of work.
Through connection and love, everything has purpose, becomes interesting, has agency, and has resonance. I don’t want to live any other way.