The Teacher and the Turtle
Big breath in and big breath out, unload the RV, wrap up the touring, convey appreciation and apply what's been learned. It's interesting when trying to convey a conclusion or finality to such a trip friends. It's been 365 plus days since we began this trial and to now transition BACK into the real world so to speak one benefits from training wheels ha. The schedule changes, the expectations change, the preparation etc. I'm down to one last show. One little show in California this weekend; after that lesson plans, department meetings and students become the priority. August is fast approaching and every teacher begins the countdown and prep of a new year.
Since we wrote last in late May we've experienced challenges and reaffirmations. After a rowdy set in Vermont the voice paid the price, thus leaving us for a bit. Maybe it took a vacation to Belize or was putting its foot down with all of the running and touring. Regardless after a hefty 3 week cancelation of shows (European tour, domestic dates with great bands such as Wild Child and Trampled by Turtles uuugggggggg) and plenty of rest with family we were able to fly out to the Winnipeg Folk Fest last weekend. Surprisingly it went quite well; no blow outs or disasters with the exception of failed jokes and eating one too many cookies (COOKIES!!). As this Saturday takes place in Santa Barbara I think I'll grab some 'In & Out Burger', a cold beer, soak the toes in the great Pacific and remember.
I'll remember Jonah and Kai rafting through Oregon and Jenny dancing in the rain in West Virginia. I'll remember singing with my parents in SW Florida over Christmas dinner. I'll remember the sightings of black bear, moose, elk and owl. I'll remember the mighty trees, the serenity of the road and the smiles and greetings upon arriving at the next gig. I'll choose not to think of the break downs, the headaches, the numbness of show after show after show, the vocal fatigue etc. I don't want a negative thought to be associated with this past year. Rather I want to use what we've learned and apply it.
Granted I have no wisdom. I have no advice. I simply know what will best meet the needs of my family and the convictions in which we believe in.
That being the case here's what I got:
I believe in order to best address our educational crises in SPED I belong in the classroom not in the music venue.
I believe that the internet and social media can pollute your free thinking, creativity and time management (thus we canceled our service to our kids horror ha ha).
I believe that focusing on meaningful relationships with others is far more important than the focus of self promotion.
I believe that music is best played within my living room than a constant performance day in and day out.
I believe that my kids ROCK, my partner/best friend Jenny is an AMAZING human being and that professional music limits their opportunities in life due to schedule and demand.
I believe that I am a much better teacher than I could ever hope to be a musician ha ha (but I kind of knew that already).
I believe I'm a turtle by nature ha meaning there is comfort in one's own dwelling and the slow and steady pace of life is more to my liking.
I believe that there will soon be a great wind of change in education propelled by the passion and frustrations of teachers, students and families here in the United States.
I believe that in order for that wind to blow WE MUST RAISE OUR COLLECTIVE VOICES to both the Federal and State legislatures.
I believe that this journey was the best possible action to take as family in order to better understand what we want from life.
And lastly yes I believe there's a very good chance we may do this again but maybe by boat or hot air balloon ha ha ha.
There will be more to add I'm sure as the school year begins. We want to continue to push this conversation friends. Each year teachers, students and families face challenges, devastation, successes and joys within the classroom setting. Each year relationships are burdened by these challenges or they are rewarded by their accomplishments. The one thing that is certain however is that students experiencing hurdles in development (whether physical, intellectual, emotional or social) will need additional services in the classroom. Yes we as teachers will be there to serve these wonderful students, but more times than not our efforts will be exhausted and limited due to the high demand of need. The question then as we conclude this entry is "Who will help us?". My hopes are that you reading this will take action and reach out to a child, teacher and family in your area. Whether it's tutoring, mentoring, volunteering, being a Big Brother/Sister, taking a teacher out dancing or extending friendship to a family working hard to meet their child's need YOU REALLY CAN MAKE THINGS BETTER:) We wish you the best and until next time keep on keeping on amigos. Cheers