Monday, April 11, 2022

Not Just a Job: Part 3— Family

So here we all were, a place where children and adults are gathered together each day, called each other by our first names, played together. sang together, danced together, shared meals together, camped together, marched together, laughed and cried together. We moved far beyond the conventional roles teachers and students and entered the realm of family, a family traveling along through all kinds of weather “side by side.” 


With the whole delight and catastrophe that family entails. The warmth, the comfort, the place you call home, the people who take you in when you’re destitute, but also the place of all the sibling rivalry, the squabbles, the spats, the weird aunts and uncles, the deep rifts over who gets grandma’s silver tea service. And for me, literally a family, , teaching both my children Kerala and Talia for 11 years each, teaching side by side with Karen for 42 years and then another 8 years with Talia as a colleague. Two brilliant colleagues, I might add. Hiring my daughter Kerala, a beautiful writer, to edit my ABC’s of Education book, the one dedicated to The San Francisco School. And then teaching side by side with two other brilliant colleagues, James and Sofia, for 25- 30 years. I know thousands of Orff teachers around the world and have never encountered three internationally celebrated teachers teaching children together in the same school. Not to mention teaching together in Spain, Thailand, Brazil, Italy, Iceland, Salzburg, Ghana and beyond. 


There’s more! My nephew Ian went here until 4th grade, his brother Kyle through kindergarten and then Kyle came back for a brief time to work in after-care.  Terry Edeli and his family and Marie Bergstedt and Laralyn joined our family when we went to Bali, we went to the snow with some school families every year for some 15 years, I’m still in a Men’s Group, 32 years together, with seven of the nine members from school. Add it all together and the evidence is clear— this is not normal! How I would have loved to teach my grandchildren Zadie and Malik, but that was not to be. Though I taught online singing for a year to Zadie’s class in Portland, Karen and I do some guest classes each time we visit and next year Zadie’s teacher will be SF alum Brooke Murphy! So a little bit of the SF School spirit is echoing down to this next generation and isn’t that a blessing!


When you add together family and dedication and sacred energy, it upgrades the whole venture of The San Francisco School from an institution to a vision, a vision many times larger than mere Kumbaya singing and swaying, a vision that accepts, frames and lives in the heart of the whole catastrophe. Life’s most sublime moments mixed with Judas Biblical betrayals, Shakespearean midnight assassinations, an African Queen boat ride into dead-end swamps with mosquitoes and leeches. But always the faith that just around the bend, the lake of salvation awaited and we would be carried there by the blessed rains of a benevolent universe. 


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