Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I ran into a former student while I was out and about. She changed her hair, and now has a child. It was sort of a surprise, but still, having a child should be celebrated. The pressures of choosing to raise a child who was created in love are large, but she's making the right choice.

She was one of my favorites. I didn't have a habit of playing favorites. It wasn't a game. It was that she actually cared about singing while other students wanted the old teacher back--something which they didn't get. The last time I saw her, the year was only halfway over and her parents told her they were moving. I lost a few students to moves. It had already been bad enough and that was the death knell.

It was hard seeing her again. I hate being reminded of what I went through. I dreamt of becoming a choir teacher and it's fallen apart. I wrecked my shoulder playing piano and conducting. It wrecked me emotionally going through such a horrid year. I should have quit, but I didn't know that, well...that people have a legal obligation to honor a contract or what it is that they must honor.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jimmy Kimmel and Former Students

I was watching Jimmy Kimmel Live. Sometimes he has artists on for performances. Sometimes they are people who I end up liking and area really good. And sometimes I see things I don't want to. One of my former students was rocking out in the front row to one of these really bad bands. A flood of unfond memories came back.

His mom who is on the school board calling him on his cell phone during class.
Him wearing a hood over his head all the time like it's something unique.
Him filming me and putting it on YouTube without my knowledge.
Him mouthing off at me.
Him swearing.
Him not being able to sing very well and me having to deal with it tactfully.
Him being helpful for the first few days--but you see when I get a break I need to take it by myself. He stopped coming to the room during breaks.

As bad as it all was, I wonder if he is happy now. I wonder if he is in college, making friends and having a good time. Once I knew for sure it was him, I couldn't watch anymore. It's so hard seeing my students from that time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Pain in the Neck, etc.

I already have a pain in the neck because of the accident I had last year, and the other one from the year before that. I have a pain in the shoulder from conducting and then having surgery. I have a pain in the ankle from having sprained my ankle at work 5 times in one year.

And now...The pain in the ankle and the shoulder is back.

I went to car car dealership to test drive a Mercedes. I know--what teacher can afford one. I was curious.

My salesperson gave me a handshake over the planter instead of waiting for me to get around it. I didn't know. I stepped on the edge of the planter--something that he knew was there. My foot slipped on the edge leading to an ankle sprain. Yes, my left ankle, the one that I sprained 5 times at work. The man pulled up on my arm to break my fall and wrenched my right arm. Yes, the one that I just had surgery on.

I give up. I'm never leaving my house again. I wonder how this works out with these being Work Comp injuries. I think I know of a lawyer...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post Shoulder Surgery

I have found out a few things about the Work Comp system. Yes, it's true, people do abuse it. I am in a situation where my right arm was basically destroyed from conducting, never got better, I had to have surgery and now I am being told that Work Comp isn't obligated to restore me to the condition I was in BEFORE the job destroyed me. In fact, unless I get a second opinion in the form of a visit with a Qualified Medical Examiner, I may not get all of the physical therapy I really need to live a pain free life.

I was talking to some guy I was briefly interested in who said that he thinks it's all a scam and that people know what they are getting into. Not only that, they shouldn't have to have some system pay for their treatment. As I said, I was only briefly interested in him. I really don't care to be put down for something like this.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Unspecial

I auditioned for America's Got Talent. It was, to say the least an interesting experience. Some girls want to beat up one of my ex boyfriends. They have met him because their singing group is an offshoot of one that he was involved in founding years ago in college. I befriended a group of girls who teach fire dancing and brought their group to audition. I also befriended the people on either side of me in line. One is a girl who needs a teacher to be able to audition for the performing arts high school. She has to learn an Italian aria. I can help her with that. I am trying to build a reputation for being able to prepare students for that level.

What happened with the actual audition is that I learned that this really isn't a talent show. My story was buried because they has so many singers to get through. I learned that to make yourself more interesting, you should play something while you sing. I learned that they pick some really bad people with no talent on purpose. I learned that they make is seem like a talent show when it really is only about ratings. There were so many talented people there. Why are they picking Boy Shakira when they can have someone who is actually good? I don't even mean me.

By the end of the evening, I was in tears because they didn't even look at my story and I didn't think to say anything when I introduced myself. I only got 90 seconds to shine, as did everyone else. I know that it's possible to pick people from that, but they aren't even looking or listening for talent. Partly I was in tears because I was so tired from standing in line all day or waiting around.

One of my friends said, You are talented, you don't need a show to tell you that. Maybe exposure because that's always nice. But you don't need them to tell you you're talented.

He's right. I felt better after he said that. I do feel like people don't understand how hard it is to make it as a professional singer. Some of my students and my coworkers thought I was amazingly talented and that I should be on American Idol or some show like that. They don't stop to think that I'm not the age or the look that they want. I don't know why I forgot.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Surgery A Success

I just had surgery on my shoulder. Here's hoping will finally have a pain free life. Surgery sure has changed in recent years. Not only can they perform a surgery arthroscopically, they even give you a video of the procedure on DVD. Amazing!! It hurts to type too much. Aparently they took out pieces of bone and scar tissue. I don't know how this all happened when all I was doing was playing piano and conducting. But anything is possible. My arm is in a sling. The guaze finally came off today with really sticky tape that pulled off a layer of skin. It felt so good to be able to shower!

When I go to the post-op appointment, I will find out the hows and whys. The thing that amazes me is that my principal tired to talk me into signing off that I didn't want medical treatment. I said I would go home and put an ice pack on it and see how it felt the next day. If I had signed anything, they would not have been paying for the surgery. But then, that's the whole point, isn't it? Who wants to pay?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

At Long Last

Due to my case getting dropped and then picked up again. Due to the fact that my pain still hasn't healed. I am finally having surgery on my shoulder for the injuries that teaching last year caused. They never fixed the piano. I was playing and conducting for hours and it resulted in rotator cuff problems.

This week I will be getting surgery to fix my shoulder. I'm seriously nervous about it. But hope I will finally be closer to normal than I have been. Work comp is seriously slow. This could have been done a long time ago. But at least it's getting done. I'm working as an independent contractor, so it's not like there will be anyone upset with me or disappointed in me that I wasn't able to be at work. At least I will be paid for being on disability for awhile. And then hopefully I will be better. I'll let you know--if I can type.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Private Lessons & Chopsticks

In February, I will begin teaching voice as a secondary instrument with a piano school which has opened several schools. In terms of pay, it's not alot. On the other hand love music and will be doing something I love. They are looking to continue expanding. Who knows, someday I might work up to find myself running one of their schools. That's a few years off.

I will be taking over someone else's teaching in one location because it's too far for her to drive from where she goes to school. She was very popular with the kids. Crap. I have been through that before. But this time it's different because I will meet with them one-on-one.

I sang at two recitals at two of the schools so they could hear me and meet me. Everyone was very complimentary about my singing.

The funny thing is, most of the teachers are Korean! We all went out for Korean barbecue after the last recital. I have seen some of the side dishes before, but just kimchee really. I read somewhere you have to see something 20 times before you try it. I'll be seeing alot of this stuff. They were impressed that I know how to use chopsticks. One girl confessed she holds her chopsticks the wrong way, and another chimed in that she did too. But they can get away with it because they are natives. I can use chopsticks, but I wonder how well I will do when I really can't even play chopsticks since my shoulder injury. Some of the women were impressed that I used chopsticks to put my hair up. It's easy.



How did I find this job? They posted that they were looking for some instrumental teachers on Craigslist. I wrote and asked if they needed a voice teacher. It just goes to show that you never know what will happen. That plus the mystery shopping should make things pick up to an OK level financially.

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

The music lesson for the day:
the Smiths were a melodic pop band from the late 80s and early 90s who sang about unusual and miserable topics tunefully.

I was looking for a job and then I found a job and heaven knows I'm miserable now. In my life, why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if I live or die?

The Smiths said it best.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Why Students are Mean

I ran into one of my former students at the mall. Her face lit up and she gave me a hug. I was happy to see her, but what in the world could I say?

Gina: Miss D!! How are you?
MissD: Gina, it's so good to see you? How are you?
Gina: I'm good.
MissD: How is the new teacher? Eva said she was really mean and made her write standards.
Gina: That's because it's Eva and she doesn't like to do anything.
MissD: I remember.
Gina: She's good. I'm in two periods of choir this year. Can you believe it?
MissD: Yes. That's kind of funny though.
Gina: Well, I just have two real classes and then two periods of choir in between them.
MissD: That's exactly what I was doing in high school. Too funny.
Gina: Miss D, you should have come back. We were mean to you because we were hoping that our old teacher would come back. But then he didn't.
MissD: I'll bet I got the blame for the choir falling apart...
Gina: Well...yeah, they did... But it was us really. We were just used to him.
MissD: Are they starting to see that it wasn't just me?
Gina: Yeah. The guys that are in the choir don't sing. And it still doesn't sound like we did when Mr. Moore was there. It would have been better this year because then we would be used to you.
MissD: O, honey, I know. I wish I could have come back, but it didn't work out that way. I kind of told you guys that's how it was gonna be.
Gina: Well, I guess we just didn't believe it.
MissD: I know.
Gina: We have chairs now in the new room.
MissD: Wow, that's what I wanted for you guys too.
Gina: The new teacher took one look at what the band teacher had and went straight to the office and got chairs.
MissD: Good for her, and for you guys.
Gina: So what are you doing this year? Are you teaching somewhere?
MissD: Um, well, I'm looking into new things right now.
Gina: That means no. You should still teach, Miss D. You were good. It was us.
MissD: Thanks, Gina. That means alot to me.
Gina: Well, I have to go. Bye.
MissD: Bye.

We hugged.

I wondered how the news of me not teaching anywhere this year would go through the school. Gina was trouble when I had her last year, yet at the same time, she was dedicated and sometimes gave alot to the choir. I couldn't handle the pressure of teaching students whowanted their old teacher back that badly. Gina told me that the accompanist returned also. Meanwhile, I lost everything. I'm the biggest loser in the whole thing. I'm still not over it emotionally and certainly have taken a hit financially.

I'm debating if I should ever go to that mall again. I did get a glasses prescription filled there and am getting contacts, so it is hard to avoid that mall for the time being.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Booksmart, Lacks Common Sense

I found myself taking the Census test today.

I think its amusing that I would say "I found myself" when really I choose to get up, drive down the the EDD (Employment Development Department) to take the test.

In any case, the test itself was very easy for me. I finished first, turned in my work and then went to fill out the rest of my application. Not only had I left my resume in the car, I suddenly realized that I didn't have my social security card OR my driver's license. In fact, I probably would leave my brain at home if it weren't actually inside my head which is luckily, attached to my body. I had to go back home to get them so I could complete my application.

Funny, I don't remember being so forgetful.

One lady came out to where I was:
Lady: Wow, you finished fast.
MissD: It was easy...
Lady: Really? I thought some of the questions were like, I don't know...
MissD: ummm, except for the math. The math was kinda hard.
(It wasn't, actually)
Lady: I got a little bit stuck on some of the questions but not the math, that was easy.
MissD: Good for you. I never did well in math in high school.
(I didn't. It's easier now for some reason.)

I later found out that there were alot of people who didn't pass the test. I found myself making excuses for myself to not be any good. After all, I can be very forgetful.

Guy: I only got six right.
MissD: Well I sort of rushed through it. I'll bet I got alot wrong.
Guy: Six right!
MissD: You can always take it again. Don't give up!

Woman: Wow, you sure finished fast.
Savvy: Yeah, I've always been really book smart, but lacking in common sense sometimes. I guess it balances out.


You need 10 right to pass and possibly get hired, but 20 to get hired before 2008 ends. Suddenly I was wondering how I did. I mean, I knew I would pass, but would I score high enough to maybe get a slightly higher level job? How many Recessionistas am I competing against?

I was nervous as my test was scored...

I got 24 out of 28.

MissD: Should I take it again?
Census: That was one of the highest scores.
MissD: Well, I was interested in some of the lead positions since I have experience with surveys.
Census: Your score is high enough that they might offer you that right away.
MissD: Really? But should I take it again just to be sure?
Census: You're a perfectionist, aren't you?
MissD: A little. I sort of feel bad that I got any wrong at all. Maybe I went too fast. There was plenty of time to go back and check again and I didn't.
Census: Oh, you silly girl. Get out before I kick you out. You're fine!!
(She was a really cute, tiny Vietnamese lady, so it was even funnier.)
MissD: OK. Well, thank you so much.

So I did well on the test. But I tend to rush and make snap decisions. I need to slow down and look before I leap. I also need to go ahead and shine when I do something well.

And finally, working for the census may be a great way to transition out of teaching, if that's what I decide to actually do. The Census is temporary full-time work that won't return in 10 years. This will look outstanding on my resume whether I get out of teaching or start working for the National Park Service as a Park Ranger or something insane like that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The "I ain't got no insurance" Blues

What's a girl to do when her insurance runs out? Get religion and start praying? Well, I do attend church. It's partly because I get paid to sing in the choir. Some guy called it "spirituality for hire". I call it singing for my supper.

Back to insurance...

Since church is a workplace, I am covered there by work comp.

If I get injured at home, maybe my parents homeowners insurance will cover me. I have no doubt that slipping on a pile of papers on the stairs constitutes negligence on the part of Mom and Dad. (God love them, but the house is a bit messy.)

If I get injured at school--either as a sub or with the after school program, I'm covered by work comp--even though the system completely sucks.

If I get into a car accident, I upped my insurance coverage to include a hefty amount of medical coverage. Let's hope that doesn't happen as my neck hasn't yet recovered from the last one.

I'm all covered--just so long as I don't step on a crack in the sidewalk and hurt myself--hey wait--then I could sue the city!

Where there's a will, there's a way!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bitter Teachers

If anyone has a right to be bitter right now, it's me. I accepted a part-time gig teaching music in an after school program. It's a huge step down in pay. I was asked to teach guitar, even though I have never done that, and I said yes.

Coordinator: MissD, this is the facilitating teacher.
MissD: Nice to meet you. Would you mind facilitating carrying this box for me? It's kind of heavy. (I do have that torn rotator cuff, after all.)
Facilitator: Sure, no problem.

I was stuck in the cafeteria with a bunch of other kids who were doing homework and talking while I was trying to teach. I was yelling. I had to ask several times for those children to be kept quiet.

What fun when I got to the school and made a mistake in front of the Facilitating Teacher.

Facil: You're doing it wrong.
MissD: I'm sorry?
Facil: You're doing it wrong. You're not telling them the right strings.
MissD: Excuse me, but may I speak to you privately?
Facil: Sure.
MissD: Do you mind if I make a mistake to not speak to me that way in front of the children?
Facil: Well you're doing it wrong. You can't teach them the wrong things.
MissD: I apologize that I reversed it, I've never taught guitar before.
Facil: So you don't have any guitar experience?
MissD: It's been awhile.
Facil: They promised you would be qualified. I should be teaching this class but the district wouldn't let me.
MissD: I'm sorry that they district wouldn't let you teach the class, but please don't take that out on me.

I then turned back to my little class while he stormed off to complain about me. Meanwhile I called my company. They later complained about me being flip by asking the man to carry something, didn't seem happy to meet anyone and the staff didn't like me. My next question...

Are you seriousss? So you want me to stop the world because YOU wanted to teach the guitar class? Teach it, then!! I had just driven 27 miles for 1/4 of the hourly pay I get as a certified teacher with no benefits and only teach 2 hours.

I get $30 dollars for 2 hours.

GET OUT OF MY FACE!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Being A Sub Sucks

I forgot how much it sucks to be a sub. I've only been on one assignment. OK, OK, part of the problem is that I got sick with, as I mentioned to a friend, Alot of symptoms.

I still feel like my head is floating about an inch outside of my skull, but that's a considerable improvement from floating about a yard above my head. Oh how it bobbled in the breeze when I tried to drive to the mall to pay my credit card off. Thank God that I didn't owe anything because

I haven't really made anything!!!! 1 freaking day of work.

Wow, I'm underwhelmed by all the money I'm NOT making. I believe I've joined the ranks of the gainfully underemployed. Bonus to me, I can get my student loans deferred.

On the side, I 've been searching for some extra stuff. And at least I don't come home from work overwhelmed and totally drained like I was when I was teaching choir last year. I suggested to that same friend that he hire me as his temp, since he really is too highly paid to be doing his own filing. They used to shoo me away from the files when I was a graduate assistant because they had undergraduates for that. I was getting paid only $13 an hour or something ridiculous like that. He makes oooodles more and certanly SHOULD have an assistant to do his filing and get his coffee. Plus he took me out to dinner and to see the improv.

Seriously, who subs anyway?
Let's see, my former Spanish teacher who just retired, kids who are waiting for an elementary teacher to die so that they can take over the 2nd grade class (seriously, it's that hard to get a job teaching elementary school), college students who want to be teachers, pedophiles and those who might be hoping to engage in sexual misconduct with a precocious teen. (Once they are adolescents, it's no longer pedophelia.) And then there's me. I feel truly humbled to go back to it after having my own music classes last year and I wonder if education is really the right place for me.

Just like starting oooooover!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Being Misssss D (My alignersss make me lisssp)

I got clear braces (Like Invisalign but not Invisalign. My system is called Simpli5 because there are only 5 trays.)

Sure, it's great to know that my teeth are being straightened. I have alot of sympathy for my students that have braces. Though I told them if they didn't get to work, I would tell my former classmate who is now an orthodontist to make sure he tightened their braces really hard. I know first hand exactly how painful it is to try to eat when you just got your braces adjusted or, in my case, I just got a new set of trays.

They also make me lisp something fierce. Talk about detrimental to your career.

One of my classes started calling me Misssss D. Of course, I also started emphasizing the lisp so we could have some more fun. Then they started asking me questions that I had to answer with s words.

MissD: It's time for the quiz, so everyboyd ssssssshhhh. I'm very good at shhhh since I got my new alignersss.
Student: Missss, do you have a pencil?
MissD: Mmmhmmm. But I know what you want me to say.
Student: What's that?
MissD: Yessss, ssssweetie, here'ssss a penccccil. Now ssstart your sssciencccce tesssst.
Student: Wait! I thought it was a quiz.
MissD: Yesss, but tessst has an ssss. Now get to work.


Honestly, if you think it's funny too, you realize that kids are more open about what they think is funny or embarrassing. What a pressure cooker. I also reminded them that while it was/is funny, that they also need to remember to be respectful and get work done. Kids don't realize that their laughter can hurt so much. I view teasing as an initiaion tactic, not a sign of hatred.

Just the day before I called ssssome of my friendsss when the lisssp wasss really pronounccced becaussse I figured it was worth a few laughsss. So, I really am good natured and easily amused. I can see why they think it's funny because I was fairly amused by it. In fact, I was more amused than some of my friends.

Misss: Come on, don't you get a kick out of me?
Jeff: Sometimes.
Misss: Come on sssweetie! Give usss a sssmile! It's back to ssschool timesss. You're like Eeyore and I'm like Tigger.
Jeff: I never thought about it that way.
Misss: Yep. They're bouncy, trouncy, ppouncy, flouncy, fun fun fun fun fun!! The wonderful thing about Tiggers is IIIIIIIII'm the only one!!
Jeff: I don't remember those songs.
Misss: Eeyore is the the donkey. He didn't have a song I don't think. I'm going to add an s to your name. You are now Jeffsssy.
Jeffsssy: I need to get back to thinking about how I'm not sure going back to finish my PhD was really the right thing to do.
Misss: Sssssure, sssweet ssstuff. Don't think ssso hard, though. May I sssugesst Lexxxxapro?


I walk a fine line between cute and annoying. You can sort of see why I would find an eighth grade science class fun. (Ssscienssse classss!!)