So, sometime in the summer, I accepted the post of organist at a church I’d not been going to, but knew of. I’m due to start that soon, with Harvest Festival.
I’d anticipated a work timetable similar to last years, as I already knew I was highly likely to be returning to the same curriculum area. But, I was not anticipating one of the lowest level groups, and therefore, several hours a week of time with students outside lessons, waiting for them in the morning, and seeing them to their transport home in the evenings.
So, I have 35 hours a week of solid contact time. This is partly because we have a staff crisis… as we always do at this stage of the year, and partly because we didn’t anticipate my student to be quite so needy. One day, I would like those who work in education in our government to shadow me for a week, and then try to do my job, on my salary, for a term. As I was heard to say yesterday, in a moment of frustration with moving goalposts, mixed messages and impossible demands from a hierarchy who have never worked in a classroom, “I love my job, I enjoy my students, I work well with my colleagues, but boy oh boy, do I hate the politics.”
I’ve also got what I’d always dreaded this year – a group of giggly girls. However, I seem to be making better progress with them than I thought I might. I work well with naughty boys, but I appear to have a very well behaved group of them this year. The girls are intent on educating me in matters of fashion and music. I’ve not had the heart to tell them generations of teenagers have tried, and failed. They will learn to accept me as I am, as I accept them as they are… mysteries as we are to each other.
So, combining what is now a real full time job, hours-wise, with a Sunday commitment at a level I’ve not done for three years or more, and the hellish commute does seem to be a little insane. Luckily, I’ve got a month of term to get the full time work off to a good start, before picking up the Sundays.
Whilst it’s all going to be a bit hectic time-wise, what I’d not banked on was, when I’m in practice, how much music energises me. More and more, I am grateful I have the piano at home, and will be able to have regular access to a church and organ. For, that will also be a huge help. I have missed having a church I feel at home in, and a church where I can just go in to pray.
I’m also now in my fifth year of the main job kind of work, and tiring as it can be, when it’s going well it feels less and less like “work” and more like fun. (Yes, despite the ridiculousness of this past week, and the heavy load of hours, it’s still fun when it’s going well.) So, ultimately, I think the combination will work. I am going to have to be strict about my off time, though.
Mind you, I’d not expected last nights nightmares about muddled hymn lists, confused mass settings, and my feet not able to reach the pedals. (They do, it’s the best organ I’ve ever played for that one.) I am going to make cake as an antidote!