The mind is an extraordinary thing. On one hand, I felt casual about beginning my 42nd year of school this morning and thought I was going to skip the teaching-naked-in-front-of-the-class dreams that reveal the anxiety that often precedes starting the school year. But last night I did have that recurring dream of being back in my New Jersey childhood home and also woke up at 3:30 am, the subconscious mind’s way of saying, “This is worthy of at least a little attention.”
I liked the childhood home dream because school is home, home and yet again home. The place I literally shared with my wife and daughters and nephews and neighbors and friends and colleagues and also the place where everything I dreamed of becoming and creating mostly came to pass. And so in I walked, started alone in my room playing Bach on the Steinway, greeted teachers in the hall, met my first 8th grade class and initiated them into my standing-up “Good morning, Mr. Goodkin!” ritual, tongues firmly in cheek, but something important about the feeling in this, our last year. And then off we went, a Boom Chick a Boom, into some hard-swinging jazz groove and they got it first time. Yeah! Then followed by a group of 5-year olds that did the class the way I hoped the 4-year olds in Toronto would have (see my blog Victorious Defeat!) and what a pleasure that was! Then Singing Time with our music teachers/ Intern band, This Land Is Your Land accompanied by guitar, banjo, cuatro, kantale, stand-up bass and spoons. Yeah!
Truth be told, I’m getting weary of having to think about and talk about retirement just because my number is high and my peers are stepping into a new life. I love the life I’ve crafted and at least on the first day of 170 more or so to come, ain’t nothin’ broke and nothing that needs fixin’. I love teaching, I love teaching kids, I love teaching these kids in this school. And it didn’t hurt that a new 5-year old, cute as could be, said to me at the end of class while putting on her shoes: “You’re a great, great, great, great, great, great music teacher!” Of course I replied, “And you’re a great, great, great, great, great, great student!”
I’m going back tomorrow. Will keep you posted.