I’m back to mentoring Yari, a long-time student/colleague/friend, which means watching or co-teaching and occasionally teaching 7th and 8th graders and the verdict is in: I’m nowhere near ready to stop teaching kids. In plain language, I just love it so much!! Alongside all the details of crafting a lesson so that the music really flows, so that the head, hand, heart and hearing are fully engaged, so that kids are initiated into one of humanity’s most glorious faculties— the act of creation— I just love being with them. Enjoy, rather than get disturbed by, their little quirky antics, love watching them make little musical breakthroughs, am impressed by their comments and powers of observation. From the moment they walk in, my whole body is smiling and I think they feel it. In a world in which so many are correcting them or scolding them or scowling at them, I think they feel my genuine pleasure in their company— and respond accordingly. Positive emotions beget positive emotions, my ping of happiness is met with their pong of—“Well, okay! Let’s play!”
So my retirement from my school could have felt like a divorce and this entry into this new school like a new love interest, but in fact the marriage of my way of being in the world with the science, art and craft of teaching music to both kids and adults far transcends any one particular place or time. When I betrothed myself to this lifetime commitment, some part of me said, “If anyone objects to this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace” and the ensuing silence was the needed blessing that this was my true life partner.
Which brings me to one of my favorite moments today. The 8th graders were lining up outside the music room door and Yari said, “If you need to go to the bathroom, go now before class starts” and I spontaneously quipped:
“Yes, go now or forever hold your pee.”
You see, that’s what being around kids does to me. And I love it.