Nearing the end of last school year, I began to think about what I might be doing this school year. I dreamed of the day that London and Ashton would both be in school together. That would be the day that I could find myself again. I could organize my pictures. I could clean my house. I could read new books. I could practice. I was really excited about all of the little projects around the house that I would easily tackle now that my kids would both be in school all day. Then I started to think about how I could contribute at the school. I decided that it was high time they had an orchestra. The school is a fine arts magnet school. It’s ridiculous that we didn’t have an orchestra program. We even had instruments! So I met with the principal. I made a proposition and I volunteered to teach an orchestra class. I got the ball rolling. At the end of last year, the music teacher at the school retired. They hired a new teacher. I couldn’t get the job because I let my teaching credential lapse while I focused on being a full-time mother. But I didn’t want the job anyway. I wasn’t willing to put in that kind of time. I was happy somebody else stepped up to the plate. And the person they hired is good. He’s excited. And he was determined to start a band and orchestra as well. As it stands, there is a 5th grade and a 6th grade band, as well as a 5th grade and 6th grade orchestra. Very exciting! I volunteered to come to the orchestra classes twice a week and help out. The teacher, of course, is not a string player.
This is where the frustration began. I don’t blame him, but it’s kind of an awkward situation for me to be in a classroom setting, watching someone else do something that I could do better. That may sound a bit confident on my part, but it’s the truth. I have taught strings in a classroom setting for a number of years. It’s really difficult for me to watch a non-string player try to teach something they really don’t know much about. I’m sure it would be the same way if he came to “help” me teach band. Just awkward. Today I showed up at my scheduled volunteer time. The teacher told me that the principal is really excited about this program and hopes to add 3rd grade keyboards and 4th grade instruments. Great! Then he explained that it would be more work for me. I wasn’t quite sure where he was going with that, but I was just thinking today that I needed to tell him that I need to cut back the amount of time I come in. I’ve been so busy “working” at the school, that I neglect my house and I don’t get any time for myself, to do any of the projects that have been waiting. So I told him that I’m not sure if I can squeeze out any more time. He asked me what I do, why I don’t have time. I explained that my house is a disaster and I have all sorts of errands I’m always running. He knows that Taylor is the chair of the music department at the community college. Then he asked if Taylor’s gone all day every day and what he does in his office. Maybe he could do the laundry, etc. I thought he was joking and I kind of laughed. Then I realized he was serious! Besides the fact that Taylor already does the laundry, he’s extremely busy. He runs a college music department. Alone! AND he’s writing a dissertation. He doesn’t have time after his more than full time job to do more than he already does around here. The more I have thought about our conversation, the more irritated I have become. It’s okay for me to take time for myself. I’m already VOLUNTEERING at the school 5 hours a week! I’m volunteering for a job I should be getting paid for! When I realized he was serious about me rearranging my schedule to come in more, I quickly reminded him that I am not getting paid for this gig. It’s all for the love of music.