R – I’ve never written on this blog before about feeling worn down. I’m feeling worn down. Fatigued. It is the closing of a school year that has been a good one in so many ways. As a matter of fact, if I had to find something to complain about it, I don’t know if I could. But every once in awhile, days seem to overlap, tasks become repetitive, actions feel more like motions. There is so much in our profession to wrap our brain around. There’s the mental fatigue… concert planning and logistics, grades, assessments, accountability, lesson plans, running good classes, et al. There’s the physical fatigue… typing program notes, recommendations, tests, assessments, running classes, running rehearsals, prepping for rehearsals, concerts, et al. There’s the emotional fatigue… every kid is special to you which means you live and die how-to-unleash-your-best-work-every-day-so-that-you-die-emptywith them – two seniors of mine who right now who are currently ineligible to graduate, two other seniors of mine who will not graduate, the senior who is eligible but has so much messed up stuff in his life that there’s no guarantee that he’ll make it three more weeks, the kiddos who are apprehensive, the ones who are angry, the ones who are concerned, the ones who are tired, the ones who are going through the motions, et al. And by the way, all that is a summary of my reflections directly from YESTERDAY, May 23rd. And I haven’t started in yet with the faculty that is superhuman by any measure but is feeling burnt out.

To go one step further with all this, I’m not writing this because any of it is unique to me, I’m writing it precisely because it is NOT unique to me. My suspicion is that this may describe the majority of my colleagues, music and otherwise.

Two recommendations. First, I’m getting some rest. Memorial day is an incredibly special day, and celebrating it will find its just outlet. But I also need sleep and time away from work, and I’m about to do that – mentally, physically, emotionally. Two, here’s a quote by Emerson to lay on you: “The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.” The goal is not Summer vacation. It’s to make a difference. I need to get some gas back in my tank. But once I do over the next few days, I’m diving back in there with my eye on the ball – making a difference to the degree that I’m able. I will get tired again, maybe pretty quickly. But that’s different than “fatigue”. After a long weekend of rest I can hopefully hold that off for one more, productive month of the school year.

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1 Response to fatigue

  1. Lonnie Wescott says:

    I agree, Rob. Since Memorial Day is a busy time for those of us who teach Band (and chorus), I have to postpone my re-charghing until after Graduation. What I do: each summer I take a week off from music. A solid week. No playing, no singing, no gigging, no planning, no thinking about repertoire, no worrying about assessment or numbers or logistics or analyzing what I’m listening to on the radio. Nada. If a “music teacher” or “music performer” thought comes into my head I banish it.
    Usually I do this in conjunction with a vacation, so it’s not as hard as it sounds – I’m not walking past my piano every day ignoring it. We camp, we ride motorcycles, we spend time with friends. I have a pretty heavy gig schedule through the summer, but taking this “music vacation” once each year helps immensely.

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