Strange days indeed.
Here I sit, in my little study. I spend a bunch of time here each day. I try to structure the day to give myself a little bit of security in a crazy world. I work, I try to be creative and I practice, all in this little space. It is a strange thing. I am used to being on the go. I am used to being way more in control.
Teachers all over the world are doing the same thing. They are sitting at home in the quiet, or in the tumultuousness of their own family and they are trying to exert some control over their situation. They are planning; they are communicating; they are looking for structure. Teachers move. That is our work. We talk, we talk and we talk, then we move and we move and we move. We are universally bad at sitting.
Most importantly, with little or no training we are adapting.
Teachers are adapting to online delivery. "No, you are on mute. We can't hear you." "Yes, that zoom background is cool...really." No, we can't have a rehearsal over zoom or google meet. Why? Because of latency and....well because I don't have time or skill to professionally edit and produce an Eric Whitacre virtual choir at this moment.
Maybe soon...I am adapting.
Teachers are checking in with our students. We want them to know we miss them. They may not think so. Love sometimes looks like expectation or demand. None the less, we truly do. We miss the challenge, the communication, the struggle and most importantly, really most importantly the victory of a small success. We can get through many failures for that one moment of...well..."I get it."
Teachers who are uncomfortable with some elements of technology are feeling guilty about that. They are trying to learn a generations worth of progress in a weeks worth of time. They are trying really hard, and they will succeed.
That is their work. Learn to teach to learn to teach to learn...
Why is this not easier?
The one thing teachers have difficulty with is compassion. Oh, you say. I knew it!! Listen further: Teachers spend compassion like currency with others, but are misers of the worst kind with themselves. We are hard on ourselves. We feel the weight of expectation, and we want to be worthy of the name, the title and the position of educator. We push at ourselves way harder than we push at others. If we ever used our internal voice, the voice that we judge ourselves with on others, we would have no friends and we would be fired.
So, like my colleagues, I sit here and think of ways to bring music to my students. How can i help them? What do they need? I want them to see that music and the arts in general are supporting the world like two firemen linking arms to carry an injured person out of a canyon. I want them to know that what they do each day should include a little creativity, discipline and practice. I want them to know that as apprentice artists, they are necessary. Truly necessary.
So I sit here in my little study. I work, I try to be creative and I practice. I learn. I adapt. Now. I need to adapt now. Now is when it is needed. I communicate. I plan.
I try to structure my days to bring a little security into this crazy world.