Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Deep Confession

If you’re a music teacher reading these posts and felt just a wee bit tired of hearing how much I love teaching all my classes and how I never get angry at children anymore because I’m giving them what they need and how I re-direct negative behavior immediately before it starts to bother me, I have some good news. Today I got so pissed-off at an 8thgrade class that I just walked out of the room and told them they could sit and stare at the walls for the next 35 minutes. This was after kicking two kids out of class. 

What happened? Briefly, just that maddening sense that they weren’t with me, side-talking, giggling, interrupting me when I tried to talk and so on. I am doing a project outside of the norm, trying to get them to work with a poem that I chose (not them) and it’s the beginning of the new year when they’re just getting used to being back at school and my patience was already thin because of other things going on that wasn’t their fault. But still, this is where our kids’ entitlement to neglect giving bare-bones respect and actually listen to the teacher rose to the surface and I was having none of it. I still wasn’t yelling or screaming, but I let them know firmly that none of this was okay with me, amended my walk-out to “I’ll be back in five minutes and let’s see who’s ready to get to work,” came back and we did more or less what we had planned (though not particularly inspired) and had a fist-bump-of-renewed-mutual-respect end to class. So it could have been much worse.

But let’s face it, it still feels like crap. I went on to have a delightful class with 2ndgrade and a soul-stirring Singing Time, so the day started to piece itself back together. But no matter if you’re 100% “right” or you’ve been unjustly treated or some explosion was necessary to release accumulated tension (all of this relates to marriage disputes as well!), still one feels some lingering psychic energy that simply is not pleasant. It will dissipate, but it will take a bit of time. I’m thinking of my new Saami acquaintances from Lapland telling me how they deal with things like this: “We go fishing.” I can see how being out in nature with the water streaming and breeze blowing and such would help enormously in the process. 

So there you have it. Though I have some status as an internationally renowned music teacher, the kids don’t care—nor should they. And now the evidence is in—I’m as fallible, vulnerable, impatient, frustrated (sometimes) as the next person. In short, human.

Hope this makes someone feel better. Now I’m going fishing. 

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