Saturday, April 2, 2011

Beginning the goodbyes

Crunch time—with five weeks of classes (plus exams) remaining in the academic year, I'm beginning the "end game" of my current academic career.  At the same time, I'm still chopping away at the list of things that must be done prior to leaving the country for an extended time, realizing that I'll have only about 10 days after University Commencement (both my students’ and—in a sense—my own) before I actually get on the plane, bound for Peace Corps training and service.  

My teaching goal remains the same: to finish our classes in a more-or-less relaxed, non-panicky mode.  Most of my students understand and respect this; it's only a few malingerers that still prove occasionally irritating. Fortunately, I'm able to reconcile this, having learned some valuable lessons over these past 40 years of teaching.

In these last frantic weeks, each local/regional performance takes on its own "final" character, e.g., “last performance with a school ensemble,” “last banquet,” “last student recital,” “last professional orchestral gig,”...the list goes on. At the same time, each event allows me the opportunity to thank those who have so positively contributed to so many people's lives, mine included.  

While, in an ideal world, I'd be at complete equilibrium with all my students, colleagues, associates, and friends, I nonetheless leave with a preponderance of really positive memories.  In the case of the few disappointments, especially those dealing with unfulfilled student or organizational or institutional potential, I'm gradually—and gently—cutting the cord of responsibility.  Things take time to accomplish; perhaps the people/groups with whom I'm most concerned will see a much brighter future than can currently be imagined.

On a lighter note:  In an odd way, I'm enjoying the absolutely straight-faced jockeying of a few colleagues for my office space when I move out (mildly reminiscent of Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come).

I'll update this as the month goes on.  Meanwhile, congratulations to the survivors of March, which has, once again, “come in like a lion and gone out like a lamb”—regardless of John Belushi's alternate meteorological theories.

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