Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Jazz Affair

Tonight I watched half of the dress rehearsal for the Civic Ballet's "The Jazz Affair". It is a fantastic collaboration project that brings together local and guest artists, dancers and jazz musicians.
Half of the show is choreographed by the ballet's director, Meghann Bridgeman, and performed by the advanced dancers (most of whom take my modern class once a week).
WOW. I am very impressed with her choreography - she keeps it ballet enough while eally capturing the feeling of the music and contemporizing things. The dancers make me want to cry - they are so talented, so young, and so genuinely sweet. They have inspired me to start taking ballet classes with them so I can continue to learn and improve in the art form I am so passionate about.
I didn't watch the guest artist half of the show, but I have watched them rehearse throughout the week, as Ashley has been doing her job shadowing at the ballet for last few weeks for a couple hours. I have been impressed with what I have seen from them, too, and watching them gives me that twinge of missing Dancers' Company and being part of a group of artists involved in creating and performing together.
The music is fantastic. When Bret and I were dating we played a version of the "Newlyweds" game on a group date. The question was, "What is your date's favorite genre of music?" I thought for sure he'd put country, as we both enjoy country music and had talked about that fact many times. But no. He answered ,"Jazz." Well I don't listen to jazz much, but when I do I am always mesmerized and fall in love with it. The band is great and the guest singer...Aaaahhh... she sounds just like Ella Fitzgerald (not that I really know anything about Ella Fitzgerald!).
Anyway, it is a fantastic show and I am excited to watch the real deal tomorrow. I love dance. I love art. !!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Little Miss Dramatic

Who? Me. Sorry for my overly-passionate post about school. It was a little over the top. There are a bunch of fantastic teachers at this school and they are working with a particularly challenging population of students. Its easy to criticize when I sit through their classes each day wishing I could be hired as a teacher... I start thinking I could do things better but I forget how challenging teaching can be. And the teacher I subbed for probably thought she made things a lot more clear than she did. I just got a little frustrated in the moment.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

7th Period? Ok.

Dear Whomever,

It's 7th period at Lake View High School. The student I assist has been gone all day getting her braces tweaked. I have spent the day doing random tasks for other teachers, getting some paperwork sorted out, and attempting to stay busy. This morning I offered my help to some of the teachers I know and one of them sighed with relief and asked me to help cover her 7th period class. All she told me was, "I need to leave for a doctors' appointment but didn't want to get a sub since I'm just heading out a little early. They're just doing a worksheet and then they can go to the library." Hmmm.... sounds good. I assumed I'd see her at the beginning of 7th and went on my merry little way.

What she neglected to tell me was that she would NOT be there when I showed up. Luckily this is a Special Ed Support Facilitate class with only 7 students. After waiting a few minutes to she if the teacher would come, I found a folder on her jumbled desk with a sticky note that read, "7th-finish bridge then this." The students explained what the bridge was and convinced me that they all finished it yesterday (I made them show me their assignment but couldn't tell what "done" was supposed to look like so I just trusted them). I gave them their new assignment. I took roll on a sticky note by asking them their first name. They finished the worksheet in about 10 minutes and I wrote them all passes to go to the library (hopefully my scribbles on a sticky-note were enough to count as a pass).

Now I'm sitting here thinking, "What the heck just happened? What am I supposed to do now? Hope I didn't mess anything up horribly, but if I did it's not my fault." It bothers me that this teacher didn't give me more information - that wasn't fair to me - but what bothers me more is that she didn't care enough about her students to help me help them learn. She left me high and dry, but more frustrating, she left THEM high and dry.

I might never be a high school teacher, but I can tell you what... If I am, I will do a lot better than a most of the teachers here. That is not a statement of pride or cockiness, that is a statement of committment and dedication. These students deserve more.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Hour in Dance Education Heaven

When we moved to San Angelo I realized that all my hopes and dreams of saving the world one public school dance class at a time wouldn't come easily. Then I started to think it wouldn't come at all. But today I found myself spending an hour sharing all my lofty ideas for ways to bring dance to elementary school children with someone who actually wanted to listen and who bounced ideas back!

Her name is Tara Rainey, the new executive director at the San Angelo Civic Ballet (not to be confused with Meghann Bridgemann, the artistic director, who hired me). Tara asked last month if I would be interested in helping with the ballet's outreach in February. Today we sat down to chat about it... turns out she's about as ambitious as I am. She believes strongly in the importance of arts in the public schools, although she doesn't know much about dance. As she put it, "I can get you money and get you in places, but I just don't have the ideas." Well how great... I have the ideas but no ins and no money. We have some cool plans and are going to work on writing some grants soon. Yay! Even if all our wildest dreams don't come true, I'm just so happy we could share that hour talking together.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eye Heart You

Today Ashley taught me an important lesson... good things come from saying "I love you." As I was feeding her she tapped her upper cheek, then her chest, then pointed her first finger knuckle at me. I smiled (not sure exactly what she was trying to communicate to me). She did it again... cheek, chest, point. I put on a funny face and said, "Ashley, do you love me?" She got this giant smile that I have learned to recongnize which says, "Yay... you got what I was saying!" and then she repeated the three actions one more time as if to confirm, "Yes. I love you."

How many people get to hear that each day... at work? I got a little tear in my eye and said, "Ashley, I love you too." A conversation opened up where we were able to discuss a lot of things including faith in God's plan for us, and why we are given trials... even ones as difficult as living in a handicapped body. I never expected to bear my testimony in a bathroom, but today I did just that... and all because someone chose to say "I love you."

I know that God loves Ashley and that He is mindful of her needs and wants, her dreams and desires. He doesn't make mistakes and she is exactly as He intended her to be. We are all His beloved children and He has an incredible master plan for each of us. I'm grateful that I could be reminded of that today.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


"As we learn to trust in God we realize that He can make a lot more out of our lives than we can." I can't remember who said this and I know it's not a direct quote, but it sure is true. This weekend I've been reminded of what a wonderful life I have and how little I have done to deserve it. Bret and I are so blessed!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The LONG and SHORT of Things...


This day has felt long. Remember those classes in High School that would never end? Each time you looked at the clock you had to grimace? Well I'm no longer the student, but I still have days where I grimace... especially when there is nothing productive going on and the hooligans around me are cussing up a storm and talking about things that make me feel dirty inside. Ugh.

The day feels long when the cute girl I assist has numerous events during the day that try to get her down (frustrating math test, personal "incidents", not feeling well, situations where her handicaps are accentuated, etc.). I love cheering her back up... really, I love that part of my job! But after a while it gets difficult to stay peppy when I feel a bit sluggish myself.

The day feels long when a three year old has abnormal amounts of energy and distracts the other 3 dancers from skipping, and pointing their toes, and... well just about everything! Good thing she's cute.

The day feels long when you realize much time it will take to do all 5 loads of laundry that have mysteriously accumulated in just one week. (We must have stashed a bunch of towels somewhere because today there are an awful lot that want to be cleaned.)

On a plus side, the day feels long when you get 40 minutes of lunch instead of 25 (I guess some of those "incidents" worked to my benefit). And since time was moving slow, those 40 minutes seemed more like an hour, which was fine by me!


Short is... the amount of time it has taken us to eat this delicious loaf of bananna bread.

Short is... the list of things I HAVE TO get done tonight. (I emphasize HAVE TO because the list of things I should do is very lengthy).

Short is... my memory. Should I be worried that I have to ask myself (and sometimes Bret) how old I am on a bi-weekly basis?

Short is... a long weekend. Bret and I went to San Antonio this weekend and LOVED it, but now that we're back to the grind it seems like it went by so quickly! (We'll post pictures soon.)

Short is... my list of short things.

So there you have it... the LONG and SHORT of things. But when you add together long and short you end up with average... and that's what today was... not bad, just average. Here's to an above-average tomorrow!