My current setting: sitting at my computer: which sits on one of those very old folding tables that my aunt used to play Bridge on; the cover on the table, due to it probably being forty years-old, is tearing away; sitting in a very nice, two-story, 2,200 square foot home. Full of boxes. Unfortunately … filled boxes with our “stuff.” We just moved from Dublin, CA to Roseville, CA. Since 1989, this will be my sixth school. I do my best (which means I will fail) not to mention the schools, because YES I am afraid that something will happen. Not to me, but to my family. In my book, CONDUCTING MY LIFE, I change all the names of the high schools / people involved in my stories.
I wanted to share with you the experience this time in the move. As you can see we have moved at least six times… three of those places we have moved twice to be in new homes. So, 10! TEN TIMES – TEN HOMES!! One of would think, we were a military family with all the moves!! But, no move affected me as this move.
My nine years at JON DOE High School were some of the best and worst I have experienced in a wonderful twenty-eight year career! I do plan to write BOOK TWO on my experiences at JDHS. But, just to give you several possible chapter titles / topics:
- A cease-and-desist letter for a band parent … in the first year at being at JON DOE HIGH SCHOOL
- They beat Foothill? Who woulda thunk it?
- 56 to 120 band members; One music teacher to two music teachers
- No more compliments to students
- September 24, 2013 to December 3, 2013 – would find out how strong I am and how strong my family is and … who are my friends.
- Carnegie Hall; Chicago Symphony Hall; BRAY, IRELAND … so?
- Everts, you are pushing a social agenda. Oh, by the way … it was okay, four months later, for the JON DOE HIGH SCHOOL students to participate in a (let’s be careful) … in one of the “women’s marches” during a JON DOE HIGH SCHOOL TRIP. Ummmm… never had even thought about the high school band marching in a “march” of that type. I even cringe at accepting the Mayor’s request to play at a city event, as to possibly showing allegiance to the Mayor, oppose supporting the city / community.
- PROMISE KEPT to the Class of 2017 (well, I did get a thank you or two for keeping that promise 🙂
I could go on, but you get the point. Lots of ups and downs and there will be more.
So, I cried. I don’t remember crying or crying that much for a move. I was taken aback. I was leaving a job that “cheered” – of course, professionally / quietly –for me leaving! Why would I be sad for leaving a community that was happy? If you knew me, I am a person who will be more than happy to get what I need to get, to get things done. I will continue to ask questions and help find answers. There are administrators who find that style of work to be “noble” and there will be administrators who will find that to be “annoying.” When I resigned April 18, 2017, the “new” principal (who was an assistant principal who would be the administrator who will find my “let’s get the job done,” to be … annoying), had the “official resignation form” in her hand. “Paul, you did it? I can’t believe.” She was in shock (cough/cough).
“Oh, come on! You knew that it was going to be in a matter of time,” I responded in a joking tone.
“Well, you certainly have had your ups and downs, Paul. Haven’t you? So, here is the resignation form. I need you to fill it out and return to me as soon as possible.” Almost glee on her face.
“Thank you.” I go to my desk. “I already filled it out.” I hand it to her. “Now, I am going to have lunch with my wife. I appreciate everything you did for us.” Not really. Yes, I lied. I confess. I sin. SORRY. There were times, including, “You are pushing your social agenda” where she was not there for me. Plenty of those times. So the “everything you did FOR us” ummmm… not really accurate.
The NEW principal breathed a sigh of relief! And it may sound strange to you … but I was and I am happy for her and me. She could get a band director who could support her “social agenda” / “School culture.” That support is CRUCIAL! Frankly, I could not. She and I never had “that-meeting” … “that meeting” — “Hey, Paul. I want to start fresh and move forward.” Not having such a meeting, I knew that I was one of the teachers that was not going to be in “her camp.” By not being in the principal’s “camp,” will eventually trickle down to the students. The students would begin to feel that negative relationship. It was time for me to go. In no way do I ever want to see my students lose the chance to make great music. I do not want to be the “inhibitor.”
So, on Monday, July 10, 2017, I cried. They were not tears of joy of making people happy by me choosing to leave. They were not tears of sadness for leaving some / many incredible friends. Gosh, we are blessed with some amazing friends in Dublin! People who stood by me through some incredibly painful times. I will never be able to thank them enough. No. I was not crying about leaving a good job, great friends, many competent students.
As I was watching my beautiful wife (here come the tears again, as I am writing this to / for you), on a hot July morning move our crap from one area to another, for what is the TENTH TIME, I painfully thought, “DAMN IT! DAMN IT! Again, you(Diana) must move again…. WHAT THE F###?!” That is when I started crying. Seeing our beautiful 21 year-old daughter, lugging things all over the DUBLIN house, stuffing her new Jeep full of clothes (wow! Amazing how many clothes a 21 year-old girl can have!!) I thought, “DAMN IT! DAMN IT! You (Katy) on your vacation must move, AGAIN! (she just woke up in the Roseville home and sees her dad crying at the computer).
I was crying for the pain that my family has endured over the years. Being a high school music teacher is a “charmed” life. So many wonderful things. Being a high school music teacher who believes that right is right and wrong is wrong causes one to have six different jobs in 28 years! To have had the hate emails / “your dad’s a dick” “your husband is an awful man” mixed in with some very thoughtful / loving letters & gift is rough. All the emotions are NOT just pointed at you (the high school band director), your family also gets the “flak-of-hate.” Sure. We had love! Yet, there is something to be said about the love vs hate. The “love” is to be expected? It feels more “human.” The “hate?” Oh, my … hate is pure evil. It feels like the “animal” side of being a human being. How can a human being be so “ugly?” When I see the hate at political rallies, it gives me shivers. WHY ARE YOU BEING SO EVIL (shouting down speakers; throwing rocks; punching people, etc.) and YOU THINK YOUR EVIL IS FOR GOOD? YOU ARE CRAZY PEOPLE!!
In the end, my tears are painful tears for my family. I am so sorry my family has moved so often. I am so sorry for all the emotions this job continues to bring to their direction. It is one thing for a parent to say, “You are a jerk.” But, to go to my wife or daughter or son? Yes, that happened and yes, that is disgusting! I am so grateful my family will not leave me. I am humbled by people (my wife / daughter / son) who will unconditionally love me. I would like my new job to know (because they are able to read this) … I will bust my ASS for them to have the best possible experience / education. The emails I have received from my new students / parents have been HOPEFUL! Thank you GOD for this new opportunity. Sure, there are those “unknowns” waiting in the wings to create “ill” in my life, but I will do what I can to have them own their “ill.” I will let my family know, as well, I will do all I can to make this the final move until it is time to go to one of those cool “Senior Villages” where I can pause and reflect on the more good than evil of my career. Trust me AND YOU ALL KNOW THIS…. we have many many more good days than evil days. But, for some DAMN reason, those FEW… very few … EVIL DAYS have so much weight. So, FOCUS ON THE GOOD and tolerate the evil. We have evil so we know what good looks like.
I love you Diana, Katy, PJ and wonderful Ashlee!!