Author: Po Bronson
This book, unplanned, has come to me at an interesting time. I like my job (music teacher) - much of the time. I believe in the meaning of what I do - much of the time. I'm not always sure it's what I'm meant to be doing. I'm very good at parts of the gig and consistently struggle with others. Sometimes I wonder if the strongest skills I bring to work would be put to better use in another context and with fewer or more tolerable struggles. Bronson's book reminds me that such wonders are not unusual. He hasn't given me any answers but I do have new ideas for how to approach the question.
It's always worth remembering the things I value. I love music and sharing that love with others is always gratifying. Students, even middle school students, can bring tremendous inspiration if you let them. I enjoy the trust and respect from my colleagues that my long tenure in the district have brought me. Perhaps most of all, I am grateful for one of the underappreciated privileges of teaching: the frequent opportunities to hit the reset button. Each new school year, new term, new concert cycle, new day, new class period, new student brings an opportunity to reinvent if I need it. Even if I do eventually find a new path, there are rich possibilities for the one I'm on. It's good to remember that.
Also good to remember that a job can just be a job. It need not define me. I work to live and not the other way around. I wouldn't want anything to change that.
One slight tangent: as I have written in previous posts (like this one), I love trees. I have made big life choices, like living in Vermont and choosing a house to buy, based in part on my love for trees. On page 301, Bronson offers this lovely thought: "Trees are like books - they have an intangible psychic significance far beyond their utility."