Five years ago, however, clarity set in. I gravitated towards teaching. I just couldn’t stop my feet from walking that road; and the road is paved with unpaid overtime, ungrateful young minds and often unsupportive administrators.
There are days like today when I feel like I never want to step inside a classroom again. One against forty. Armed with a piece of chalk and a CD player that barely works. A teacher is such a vulnerable creature. Can you blame them if the once bright-eyed and hopeful turns into terrors or drones? I can’t. Everyday I teach is a roller coaster ride. One snide remark from a sullen student can bring a whole day’s worth of highs to a crashing low. If, at the end of a very long day, a smile comes my way, it’s a soothing balm. A compliment, deliverance.
Four years into my major in UP, my professor asked me what my problem was. I said I didn’t feel the same way about music as I did when I was younger. I said I felt I no longer “love it enough”. The portly composer bristled: “You think I write music because I ‘love’ it? I don’t. I make music because I have to. Love doesn’t even enter the picture.”
I didn’t get it then. Now I do. But not about composing. Teaching: I just have to do it. Love doesn’t enter the picture.
But sometimes when I hear my students still singing even after I step out of their classroom, or see them rehearsing during recess, or listen to them come up with things I never even thought of, I become grateful for the turning of my feet towards this gravelly path. I shrug off thoughts of “what could have been” and make no room for regret. Into the picture enters love, and, more often than not, love hangs around.