Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Lone Ranger Meets Mr. Chips

Well, the Australian honeymoon is over and it’s back to making sure I clean out the sink after shaving. I do love this work traveling and teaching, but all good things must end. I worked some 14 out of 16 days in Brisbane and Sydney, two different teacher workshops, two university classes, one public lecture, eight different schools and felt energized at the end of each day. It’s fun being the Lone Ranger—ride into town, get rid of the bad guys by doing fun music classes with the good guys and then ride off into the sunset. I get to use my greatest hits, show each kid (and adult) how much I enjoy them knowing that I don’t have to see them again the next day and find out about their quirky little annoying habits or give them a report card. Hit-and-run love—it’s easy!

But today I returned to school and back to “Oh, it’s you again”—from both sides. Well, I do love the kids I teach, but now there has to be a different texture to it, love born from behavior that can drive any sane adult a bit crazy, but with faith that there’s redemption just around the bend. And classes that have to keep changing and developing and go beyond the dazzle of the initial euphoria to the hard, nitty-gritty work. In short, real life. The long-term Mr. Chips commitment where things really get done.

Of course, we need both. There’s many a story of an entire life changed by a single memorable artist or guest speaker at a school, as well as the stories of those who signed up for the long haul. And I count my blessings that I’ve been able to arrange my life to include both. Putting my Mr. Chips hat back on for three short weeks (do people know this cultural reference? The book/.movie “Goodbye Mr. Chips”?) and then the Lone Ranger (Hmm. Do people know this reference?) rides off over the Pacific again to three weeks in Asia.

I’m both the guy that sticks around (41 years at the school) and takes off (16 years of Orff travel-teaching during the school year and in the summer) and I love them both.

But I could do without the jet lag. 

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