The things you forget

When I was a child, in an era when we used to have real winters (this is threatening to turn into a Hovis advert), I was always amazed at how painful freezing cold ears could seem (a sensitive boy, obviously). Summer brought with it a heat which constantly surprised me. Why could I not retain the memory of one season while experiencing another? Relentless drizzle and snowless Christmases might have fooled me into thinking that I had overcome this memory deficiency, had it not been for regular oscillation between term time and holiday. In the heat of battle, I simply cannot summon the feeling of open-ended, meandering days. At the end of a long summer break, retuning the engines for the return to a high-octane existence, feels like it will require quite an adjustment. Yet it never does and the reason for this really only became clear to me on today, reflecting on a nicely turned phrase by our new colleague Sergei Desmond, who has been contracted to teach singing as part of East Lothian’s development of the Youth Music Initiative. He described our relationship with young people as follows: “you give them your experience and they give you their energy.”

Perhaps those in teaching, who actually enjoy teaching, are aware of this – even if, like myself until today, only intuitively.

2 thoughts on “The things you forget”

  1. What a superb reflection – I am very much ” in tune” with you Alan.

    How lucky we all are, both us as teachers, and the young people we have the privilige of learning alongside.

  2. Alan,

    I like the way your colleague framed the teacher-student relationship as one of give and take. As someone who has been teaching for 15 years, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that the students really do give a great deal in return – something I was far more aware of when I began teaching. Whenever I often feel that it’s a give, give, give when I am trying to get students to realize how wonderful music can be (and not “feeling the love” in return), but the energy of the students (and the fact that I am doing something for a living that I truly love doing) is certainly fuel to continue.

    Thank you so much for your reflection Alan. A few weeks before school starts over here in the States, it’s just what I needed.

    Best,
    James Frankel

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