So there’s this boy in one of my middle school classes. Pretty decent musician. Which means he’s somewhat of a behavior problem. Because that’s the way it always is. Anyway, he was complaining because his part in the piece we’re playing is “boring”. I said, that’s funny since you chose that part. And he said, yeah, because it was easy.
And so I said, yeah, well the most significant things I’ve done in my life, the stuff I remember and am proud of, have always been the hardest things.
Teaching where I teach is truly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Every day I learn something new about myself and about my students, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. It’s like my job is bi polar.
Yesterday, a particularly difficult second grader had a wonderful day in music. Usually we give them school PBIS bucks to save towards a reward, but when I offered him one, he asked if I could have lunch with him instead. He didn’t want a thing, he wanted time. With me. How could I not go? So I didn’t do the photocopies, or my lesson plans. I just spent some time with him at his cafeteria table. And talked about how we both like jalapeños. He asked how his sister was doing in music. Fine, I told him. When I saw his mother later at conferences, she said it was all he could talk about that day.
And then I have a day like I had today. Not the worst day. But not awesome either. Mostly management. Not enough music. Pretty sure one of my students was making fun of me for half of the class, trying to derail my teaching. Luckily drumming is too cool and won out. I hear myself teaching and I don’t recognize my voice. I sound frustrated. I sound tired. In the teacher’s lounge, we all say the same things. Don’t take it personally, while we do the exact opposite, trying to figure out what we could have done differently.
And so I’ll go to school tomorrow, and it will probably be better. I need to listen to my own words.
The hardest things we do are the most significant.