The Time of the Techie…

I think now that the lovely Minnesota winter has set in, it’s high time that my Californian friends come out to visit! It’s been reaching into the teens the past few days with plenty of sunshine. And pay no heed to that ‘wind chill’ that people always talk about, because it is such nonsense as to warrant a laugh. Ha! Besides, there isn’t much better than the life-affirming feeling of your boogers freezing in your nose. Sadly, there isn’t much snow on the ground, as up until a couple days ago, it was nearly hitting forty and most of the snow melted away. Still, now is as good a time as any to hop a plane and stay a spell!

I’m writing most of this entry while sitting in a district technology meeting. Luckily it’s practically required to have my computer in front of me, so I can write instead of having my eyes roll into the back of my head and passing out. One just has to love listening to people who aren’t good with technology talk about technology. Along with blogging, which yes I don’t do nearly enough of, my downtime at work is usually spent reading the news or, more recently, playing Tower Defense. Be careful with Tower Defense, as it is very quickly addictive.

My time as jazz director at school will soon arrive. As of the 22nd, I will be teaching Jazz Band on Mondays after school, and Combos on Wednesdays. The Jazz Band is designed to be the classic big band instrumentation and will work on style and playing together and have lots of charts to read. The Combos is meant to give those jazz band kids more opportunity to work on improvisation and learning charts by ear and rote, plus it will open up jazz to the instruments not normally found in big bands. Also, combos will give the rhythm section more time to work as a group and keep the groove.

It is all very exciting, the idea that I’m teaching these kids the music that made me want to be a musician myself. But it all comes on a rather sad note. Originally, the plan was to have jazz band every morning before school, just as I and so many other had done. The kids would be fresh in the morning, and would be playing jazz daily. Everything was set in place, I had the approval of the band director, whose program this is an extension of, and I had the approval of the principal of the school. Sadly, another teacher with more seniority simply said that there has never been daily rehearsals, that it simply isn’t done, and that there won’t be daily rehearsals. This was said just before winter break, and jazz band was slated to start the week after returning from vacation. So at the last minute, after kids and parents arranged to have mornings work, and were happy to do so since these kids all have something going on after school too, it all had to change. From an hour rehearsal daily down to two hours once a week, it’s a shame. I’ll make do with what I have, but it still seems a loss to the kids who want more to play. It’s an arts school, for crying out loud.

Work in general is going well. I’ve become primarily a technician for media arts, and so far have recorded and edited all of the school’s podcasts. I’ve found a wonderful niche for myself, combining my affinity with technology with my talents for teaching and music. Now I’m working toward getting back in school and earning my teaching license. I still dream of having a classroom of my own, and can’t wait for that day to happen. And I will do all that I can to ensure that it does happen.

Austin’s been obnoxiously funny lately. He’s decided that anytime something doesn’t go his way, he’ll just bring out the tears. If it didn’t happen constantly, it probably wouldn’t be so grating. But still, it’s funny how easy it is to tell the difference between a forced tantrum and when something is actually wrong. Other than that, he’s getting better and better with his manners. Michelle and I have effectively banned the word ‘want’ from our house, which means he actually needs to say ‘I would like’ or better yet ‘may I please’ in order to get anything around here. Oh, and if any of you have any advice on how to potty train a very stubborn little boy, please send it my way!

My best to all of you, and I hope I’ll be writing again soon.