Today was the first day for jazz ensembles at the college, so it was my de facto first day of the fall semester out there as well. There's something about the first day of a college semester that's really energizing, despite the fact that I had already taught for six hours in the public schools by the time I got there. Sure, it's a frantic energy--the lack of empty parking places and the throngs of people in the late-registration lines guarantee that fact--but there's something about the newness of it all that really unleashes some badly-needed optimism in me, and it can't be replicated in the public schools. I think it's because there's so much "new" in the air--new students, new classes, a chance to start fresh (even for those who may not have done well last semester). Nobody's burned out; nobody's disillusioned. And everybody has a sense of purpose today, even if they don't know where to find everything yet.
My afternoon combo has 100% turnover from the spring, which will be a challenge, but an exciting one nontheless. (My quote at the end of the rehearsal was "this is the acorn from whence a mighty oak might grow.") There were several new faces in the big band as well, so there'll be some learning time ahead....but hey, that's why we're there, to help them learn. And by teaching, we ourselves learn as well.
(UPDATE: J-Guar tried calling me on the use of "from whence," saying in effect that it was a redundancy, but I found a few places like this that back me up. I'm keeping it for now, because to edit it would mean I was misquoting myself...)
There will be times later on in the semester when "the grind" is wearing on me a bit (the public school schedule itself is still taxing at times, and my college work follows that a few days a week), but I hope I can bottle some of the optimism of today for those times. In the meantime, there are always certain places where I can slip away for maybe half an hour, just to wash the pungent aroma of work off my psyche. Tonight, after coming home from a twelve-hour teaching day and then having to edit my syllabi ("adult homework," I called it), that was exactly what I did afterwards. In the words of Yoda, hit the spot it did.
Now to work on the sleep thing...
It ain't over yet: Despite yesterday's optimism, the hard times are far from over in New Orleans. Reading the Times-Picayune's newslog is pretty depressing, as a matter of fact. Our prayers are with them.
Oh, and the UNT-LSU game this weekend has been postponed for now.
Home sweet home: With the hurricane dominating most of yesterday's news, I completely forgot what day it was, so I totally neglected to celebrate my fourth anniversary as the owner of Casa de Kev (photo here). Seeing what happened to so many other people's houses in this disaster makes me appreciate mine all the more.