Saturday, March 18, 2017

shmita

I knew when taking this piano accompanist position that I wouldn't be sticking with it for 20+ years until retiring.  Its still unclear how long I'll do it.   But what I do know is that Superboss is retiring in 6 years, and if history proves itself, I'll be ready to change things up around that time.

I've come to view this time as a sabbatical.  A time of reflection and renewed perspective.

"In recent times, "sabbatical" has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something. In the modern sense, one takes sabbatical typically to fulfill some goal, e.g., writing a book or travelling extensively for research. Some universities and other institutional employers of scientists, physicians, and academics offer the opportunity to qualify for paid sabbatical as an employee benefit, called sabbatical leave. Some companies offer unpaid sabbatical for people wanting to take career breaks; this is a growing trend in the United Kingdom, with 20% of companies having a career break policy, and a further 10% considering introducing one.
The concept of sabbatical has a source in shmita, described in several places in the Bible. For example, in Leviticus 25, there is a commandment to desist from working the fields during the seventh year."

I also came across the three "life plans", in searching about this:


1. Linear Life Plan:
Where education is for the young, work is for the middle-aged, and leisure is for the elderly.
2. Cyclic Life Plan:
You educate for a period, and then you work for a period, and then you leisure (re-create) for a period. And the cycle continues throughout life.
3. The Blended Life Plan:
You may educate, work, and have leisure all in the same month—for the rest of your life.

With the ball and chain of my teaching career having released me, I have increasingly felt a calling towards contributing to teacher wellness.  It started with Work Your Proper Duty Day.  It would've ended there if it not been for cancer.  Then I got super serious about it.  I quit my job over it.  Took a different job with less stress, less time commitment, less preparation.  Consequently, also less fulfillment, less purpose, less contribution.  Its a dichotomy I struggle with in moments of motivation.  (Its also a relief when I'm feeling unmotivated.)

For a very short period recently, I considered pursuing an administration degree, in order to put myself in a position to influence teacher wellness.   But I keep envisioning myself being pushed into a principal job.  Re: Discipline, evaluations, angry parents, supervising too many evening events....  No thank you.  Yuck.  And I would totally suck at that!

So then I started thinking (again):  Music Education Professor.  Academia <--you have to wobble your head while you read that.  Well, first I'll have to get my Masters Degree, and then my Doctorate if I ever want to be considered for a job, of which I will have to consider the possibility of relocating for a job.  

I've considered working on my Masters for YEARS, but I was always too busy and overwhelmed with my job to actually do it.  Then I quit my job, and now I'm like, well if you spend the time and money to get your Masters, you darn well better get a job where you can use it and move up on the pay scale.  

I could go back into the classroom with renewed purpose and knowledge, if I wanted.  There are some circumstances where I would deeply consider it, but what are the chances that those circumstances would be presented to me?  Or I could decide to keep going and pursue a Doctorate and a job in Academia.  I actually feel excited by the thought of it.  I've always been happiest as a student.  It would allow me opportunities to consider further career adjustments.  The way I see it, this "day job" is the perfect situation for furthering my education.  (Not meaning to demean the piano accompanist as a career when referring to it as the day job. It is a full time busy career that not just any joe-shmoe could do.  I'm just speaking as person who is meandering in figuring out her direction, and has not yet embraced it as her career direction, which I very well could do.)

I didn't go to KMEA this year, which was super weird .  It was ultimately due to embarrassment over going.  What would I do there? What sessions would I attend?  I would've wanted to go to the instrumental things, but my job is in choral music now.

I've also finally admitted to myself that I'm embarrassed about quitting my job, even though it was the right thing to do and I'm happier because of it.  The hardships of teaching in poverty have bested me.  If it wasn't for cancer and changing priorities with my health, I would've kept right on doing it.  What kind of life would that've been?  With my thresholds for stress and anxiousness being completely reset, I've realized just how awful it was.  The sunday night blues were torturous.  The end of summer was pretty much Panic Attack City.  SERIOUSLY!  I had no idea, it was so bad.  Public school teaching is ridiculous.  

I put in my time doing the good work.  I know what its all about.  So I wonder if I actually have a lot to offer in higher education, or if I would just be a total schmuck.    
In my 9 years of teaching experience, I've taught:
-privately
-elementary school band
-middle school and high school band
-elementary general music
-elementary choir
-middle school orchestra
-middle school and high school choir (as an accompanist)

And in two completely different community environments.  It appears I have a lot of experience to offer future music education students.  (And a lot of advice to give in balancing their work-personal lives.)

So.

I don't know.

This could just be passing thoughts and aspirations.  Or it could be real.  We will see.

Meanwhile, I'll continue my shmita.




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