My dad was a teacher in my high school. Since there were only two English teachers for grades 7-12 in my district, it was unavoidable that I have him in several classes. I think he was my teacher for Speech, American Literature, and one of the basic junior high courses, but I don’t exactly remember. As a teen I tried to ignore him as much as possible while simultaneously loving the subjects he taught. He once said to the class, “you will learn because of me, or in spite of me”. I thought it was a strange, yet clever phrase, which I have revisited over the years. It has some really handy applications. My dad is wise!
This phrase came back to me this morning as I prepare for a performance that I’m not thrilled about. It is a volunteer effort for a very nice organization that has an educational emphasis, but this group tends to over-reach and thus underachieve in its ambitious performance projects. As a teacher this drives me crazy! But, I have learned to stay calm and observe. There is a lot to be learned from nonexamples, a.k.a. others’ mistakes.
So why did I accept the gig? The whole organization is a labor of love, and has nurturing elements that are great when they are not preoccupied with putting on a major show. Early last year, they sponsored a master class, which lead to my beginning to work with a new teacher, which has been a wonderful experience. So I agreed to do whatever was needed this time around as I am truly appreciative.
This is a perfect lesson in reconciling my perfectionism with the chaotic operation of this little musical organization. Ugh! So I will go and sing my part, and wince a little, and hope that we all learn something from this, even if the production goes down in flames. It will be interesting, because we had the worst dress rehearsal I have ever witnessed! Weeeeee!!!