Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Teacher

Being a teacher was not my goal in life.

At least not since I got over my phase of wanting to be Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. Okay, some of you can stop
giggling now, I am fully aware it was a longer phase than it should have been. Perhaps it might be more accurately referred to as an era.

I also went through a phase when I wanted to be a missionary nurse. Yes, yes, amusing, I know.

Writing is a dream I have always held. Obviously that compulsion hasn't died or I wouldn't be blogging now.

Being a musician, though, is an inherent piece of who I am. The music led to the teaching. Perhaps that is why teaching also was inevitable.

The first time after high school that I ended up teaching, I was not prepared. This is probably why I thought teaching wasn't for me. 20 or more sets of eyes watching you when you are uncertain of how to go about leading them can be a bit unnerving.

I taught choir. All I had to do was teach them to sing songs, right?

The kindergarten class was easy, since I had taught Sunday School before, and most little kids want to look up to whomever is in charge. The teenagers were a tougher crowd, but we were all in it together and the 1989 Christmas concert came out alright.

My high school graduation in June of 1989 was from a Christian school that followed the A.C.E. program. This was an American, experimental curriculum at that time that left many of us feeling ill-equipped for post-secondary school. Some brave ones went to college or university.

Some girls just got pregnant or married instead of trying to go to college.

I was sixteen and lazy, so I just floundered for a while.

Within a couple of months of my nineteenth birthday, I went from planning to go to music school in L.A. to planning how to manage as a single mother. I didn't get pregnant on purpose. I think I got pregnant due to lack of purpose.

I got engaged to the first person who asked, married him, and had a couple more babies. I loved having my babies, from the challenge of birth to helping them learn to be people.

While searching my soul and my past, I realize that, while I state I never planned to be a teacher, I kept teaching all through life.

I taught crocheting and knitting and cross-stitching to the teens at the Christian school. Jesse always says I taught them about a lot more than needlework. While we sat at the long tables stitching away, I would discuss things about raising babies, being married, getting pregnant too young. If the principal or parents had any idea of the topics we covered, I probably wouldn't have lasted the semester.

I got a piano when I was first pregnant with my third child. While being a stay home mom, I took some piano lessons and a music theory exam. And I wrote a lot of songs. Most of them were not very good.

I home schooled my little girl through kindergarten. Then, once I put my kids in school, I took up teaching the music again.

Only then, when I felt dependent on a husband I didn't have much in common with, did I decide it was time to go to college. There is no music education at our college. So I took the Writing & New Media Technologies diploma program.

When I finished my diploma, the opportunity arose for me to teach some Macromedia Flash courses in the Continuing Education department of the College of New Caledonia. There I was, teaching again, even designing the curriculum.

I was building websites and trying to be a writer when I got two jobs that changed the course of my life.

One was at the daily newspaper doing ad layout. It paid really well and brought me a step closer to independence.

The other came at me out of the blue. The owner of B&B Music, Jay Scholton, asked me to come and teach singing lessons. I was unsure of my abilities in this area. Jay knew my family, as he had played in a band with my uncle when they were teenagers. He had to convince me to do it. Jay is a fabulous salesman.

Within the first year of teaching voice lessons, I learned more and changed more than at any other time in my life. As my marriage ended and music became the focus of my life and my children's lives, I have embraced my teacher-ness.

Last September, I brought my teaching home.

I love to teach, and most of all, to see people learn and grow and gain confidence in their own abilities.

Teaching is not what I do, it's who I am. This is why The Teacher Talks.


GraceeJ said...

I went to that cross-stitching link and almost laughed my ass off with the " shut your whore mouth" one!!!!
I want it in my living room :)
Nice read :) I love it when I read stuff and then DON'T wish for those 5 minutes of my life back :)

jode` said...

i'm so glad you have embraced your teacher-ness. you're just all growed up now. someday soon i'll embrace my "fill-in-the-blank"-ness too.