Today I had to get up in the dark, like much of the working world this time of year, since my day of substitute teaching began at 7AM, before official sunrise.
It is a weirdly warm and sultry October 28th for central Maine. Outside during the pre-dawn hour I was almost too warm in a light jacket.
Although I find these full teaching days rather exhausting, it will be nice to reconnect with the schools just up the street. One of the more striking transformations in our lives this fall of the empty nest is the complete severing of ties with the local schools. No news of music events, sports playoffs, new teachers, new students, school plays, testing dates, fundraisers, guest speakers. We might as well live in the next county rather than a half mile away, for all we know of that world and its doings.
I especially enjoy subbing for the music teacher, since music is my comfort zone. The potential for reaching kids though music is higher, I think, especially when I get to accompany them on the piano. When I start the piano part for one of their songs that they already know pretty well, they come to attention like magic, feeling the music, and they join in singing. The other nice part is that the music teacher job covers middle and high schools, giving me quite a cross-section of youth.
Something about being with them when all of my kids are grown and gone feels different. I think I am more sympathetic to their complex adolescent lives, more patient with them, in my awareness of where they have to travel and what they have to face every day; they all seem so young. ?? maybe. Or maybe I've just been lucky today - no trying troublemakers have risen to the surface so far.
Whatever the case, it's nice to be with young people again. I've missed them.