Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Teacher's Life

I wandered over to the dance studio at my school today to say hello to the dance teacher, who also happens to be my department head. I last saw her on Monday, and wanted to let her know that everything's going well, and just to say hello (she's really nice, and we're both into fitness and health and whatnot).

We got to talking about that first-week-back exhaustion that sets in after the first few days of school. Her husband suggested a nice little weekend away in Tahoe for their anniversary and she just laughed and said, "Remember what happened last time we tried that after the first week of school?" The point was taken--he has no desire to gamble alone while she passes out from exhaustion in the hotel room.

I had to laugh, because I'm at that point, too. I have to add that things are going very, very well--my kids are marvelous and full of energy (the good kind, not the "let's burn this place down!" kind). I've been listening to them sing individually so I can learn who matches pitch well (all of them, thank the universe, makes my job that much easier), who's too quiet, who's confident, who sings high notes and who has the low notes. It's fun to get to know their individual personalities. They're all very respectful, but some are more outgoing and bubbly, some are quiet and reserved. Just as any group, anywhere.

As much fun as I'm having, I've reached that point in the week where the excitement of being back in school, combined with the nerves of starting a new job, has come crashing into me like a ton of bricks. I am so very tired!! When you add the gym time (didn't go today but otherwise haven't missed a workout this week), the private lessons I'm still teaching, and the fun and merriment of my birthday, you've got one very sleepy Meg. Satisfied, make no mistake. But sleepy.

So sleepy that (apologies in advance for the TMI) when I made my usual quick trip to the loo before bedtime last night, what should have taken two minutes at the most ended up being about 15 minutes of sitting there, staring at a wall and idly going over the Thursday To Do List in my head while distractedly scratching Millie's head. I didn't actually need to stay there that long. I suppose the toilet is as good a place to think about these things as anywhere else, but when I did eventually snap out of my stupor, I had to laugh at myself.

I am now four days in to this new adventure, and I'm feeling very good about the direction I'm moving in. My list of stuff that needs doing is getting longer, but the good news is, I can call on choir parents to help out. There's a booster club already in place and I know that if I just set up a meeting in the next couple of weeks, things will start rolling. I'm not in this alone.

When I took the job at DV in Antioch, I was very young and naive. I had no idea what I was getting into, and I found--quickly--that the expectation there was for the teacher to magically make everything happen. Not easy to do when you're spending most of the month of December chasing teenagers around the greater East Bay for carol gigs. I fully admit that I made my mistakes there, and learned my share of humbling lessons about teaching, about running a high school program, and about my own attitude when things get busy. Not to mention the fact that when I started that job, I weighed over 200 pounds, ate whole boxes of Mac 'N Cheese for dinner sometimes, and dealt with stress and anxiety by completely freaking out and not taking care of myself.

These days, I'm better-equipped to handle anything the job may throw at me, and the endless paperwork and emails that come with setting up a tour, making concerts happen, and finding appropriate music for a group of 21 individuals coming together as one cohesive unit...all while still making time to keep up the fitness routine (a question from a student today when I remarked about why my shoulders are sore: "Why do you do push-ups? I hate push-ups!!" Me: "Because they're good for me." Truth.) and buying a mini-fridge for my office to encourage myself to keep healthy veggies and fruits on hand.

This time tomorrow, I'll be happily parked on a lawn chair in my new school's massive quad, chatting with my colleagues at our staff barbecue night, celebrating the end of our first week back. My first week will be wrapped up and I'll have a pretty decent idea what needs doing first thing Monday morning. But on Friday evening, I'll be eying a lazy weekend, with plenty of time for resting.

As for tonight, it's nearing my bedtime, and I've got to use the loo. ; )

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