Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I feel like I'm glowing from the inside out at the moment, and while my teaching isn't entirely responsible, it has at least contributed to the feeling. I really get a kick out of that work. Everything, but everything seems to make perfect sense when I'm in that classroom with those students. I don't mean that the details of the work always make sense (they don't always, and I admitted to one group yesterday that I don't really understand phenomenology, even if I can talk a bit about it in the context of class readings), but the broader reasons behind things do. I know why singing is so important to me when I see my students faces as they open their own mouths to sing. They giggle and demure and fain embarrasment, but there is something terribly intimate, and immensely satisfying about making noise together. I have this exercise I used to do with my choir where we pick a note, and then gently swoop down to the bottom of our range from there, and I did that with my classes on Friday and Monday. And I played music to them, and listened to them talk about it, and read what they had written. I watched the expressions on their faces as I told them about South Africa, and about how I got into music in the first place, and the expression of utter relief and delight on one girl's face when I explained that we would be talking about synaesthesia with one of my favourite composers. She has synaesthesia too, and so badly wants to know more. It is an immense privilege to be in New York to do this, because there are so many people around, and so many resources and opportunities for these things. But really, I think wherever I was, at this moment in my life, teaching would feel like this.

1 comment:

annA said...

I haven't commented on your blog before, but I wanted to tell you: This is really lovely, Nicol. It resonates deeply with the same feelings I have had tutoring English in a University setting, working with students of all ages backgrounds, and disciplines to focus, organize, structure and polish academic papers. It is intense intellectual work, but some of the deepest connections and most intimate moments of my life have come with relative strangers in that setting. It's an incredibly vulnerable and exhilarating position to be in but that, for me, is what makes teaching and being taught a worthwhile dedication for my life. Thanks for posting.