Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It has been a very interesting beginning to the week.

Monday Night - I saw the most amazing concert EVER! Stevie Wonder. He is mind blowing. He played for 2 1/2 hours without a break and without a warmup band. He channelled the 4 tops, Miles Davis, played Giant Steps and Spain - all within the context of his own songs. He has so much material that he had to put most of songs into a medley! It was amazing.

Monday afternoon - before the concert - one of my colleagues rang me to 'discuss' the way I had made arrangements for children to sing at another colleagues funeral. I do use the term lightly. There was no discussion! I was accused of all sorts of things - including a lack of professionalism. WTF! That is when I saw red.

The whole story looks something like this. The principal rang me Sunday morning to advise me that I would need to organise some music for the funeral as the lady had just passed away (about 30 minutes ago). At this stage no music had been requested, time and date not organised. It was looking very fluid. I spoke to no-one as I had nothing to discuss.

Monday I spoke to the principal and was given a list of requested music. My internal reaction was "how am I going to do those pieces seriously?". Time and date still unknown. I got together a group of senior students and asked them if they were willing to take part. Most of them were ok but reluctant considering the music choices.

Later in the day the Principal said the pieces I had previously been told of were now to be played via disc and we were being asked for vocal music that was spiritual/gospel in style. Time and date now known.

It was now, when I knew what I was dealing with, that I rang the particular teacher to ask for input (like to organise, be involved in the music for the service). I suggested what I had discussed with the kids and that this was all up for negotiation. I was not going to make a decision about the group or the teacher's involvement. I was informing them that most of the senior singing students were willing to participate.....

As I was driving home this teacher rang me and basically told me that I was trying to take their job because of the way that I had spoken to the teacher and that I had not consulted. (What did I have to consult about? There had been nothing at that stage to discuss!)

I came out with the classic "Right! That's where I draw the line. I object to what you are saying because....." and outlined what I have stated above. I then went on with the fact that I was not in the position of making decisions for this or any ensemble etc......

Then there were analogies with String or Wind groups. The teacher stated that if I was asked to organise one of those groups I would have consulted with a string/wind teacher. I told the teacher that in the situation I wouldn't as most of the teachers were not in on Monday or Tuesday due to their timetables and the fact that there was another funeral on Tuesday - which I did not know about until Sunday......and that I would have organised the students as we had to move quickly to get permission slips out etc.

Then I was compared to the last head of department and came out with a classic "She would have done this...." I know what the truth of the matter is in this situation, the last head of department is one of my closest friends. My response "I'm not her."

The teacher then compared the current head of department to a fascist leader as he did not consult anyone when giving the choir to me. (AAH - now the truth comes out!) My response was that the teacher needed to talk to him about this. Retort: "what is the point? You conspired with him because you wanted it and my job!"

WTF! No way. He directed me - The teacher was not there in the discussion we had about it and I was doing my job. I did not agree with it but was told there was no option. Again, take it up with him.

Finally, I had had enough (20 minutes in and all). I then described the first conversation we had (8 years ago) as it was so unusual that it sticks in my mind. At that stage the teacher was concerned I was employed to take their job and that was they were saying now.

I told the teacher (please excuse the language) that I didn't want their fucking job as I had one of my own. I was very good at my job - classroom music teacher - and that they should be proud of the job they have as they do it well. (when there is no emotional meltdown - but I didn't mention that!) I don't have time to do both jobs! In amongst all of this I am an instrumental coordinator and my job was to organise music at the Principal's discretion. I acknowledged that they had made it blatantly clear that they did not want me to have ANYTHING to do with the rehearsal of the kids for Thursday, even though they were not in until then missing a normal day of teaching, and that I would organise the kids as this was my job, but I would NOT rehearse them.

I must admit, I was angry! (no!!!)

The teacher then apologised - although it felt half hearted.

Tuesday day. Informed the principal of this teacher's rant at me and my reaction (it is relevant to other things political happening in the school related to this person but nothing with me.....) and told the head of department that the teacher might being coming to speak to him.

I organised the kids - permission slips, rehearsal time for Thursday etc. Suggested what piece they might do but it might change as their director might think of something else appropriate. Then rang the teacher to let them know the outcome.

Tuesday night - Started yoga. Focused on breathing. Cleared the mind. Relaxed. Had a lovely time. What a beautiful thing.

Wednesday - pile of correction waiting for me! Excuse me while I head for it.......

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