Bitter Sweet

My life has been full of many mixed blessings and emotions lately. It's been very bitter sweet. Not the kind of bitter sweet you make a wreath from. The kind that sinks into your soul. As a mom and a wife and choir director, I struggle to balance the needs of all the people who depend on me. I don't have any illusions that I'm special in this way. I know that most women struggle with this balance regardless of their choices for how to spend their time. But lately my students have been putting me through the ringer. I've had three high school students with severe respect issues since school started back again. I've had to discipline them several times, and instead of supportive parents taking issue with their children's behavior, I am now in the position of having to defend myself to a click of nasty, mean teenagers and their families. I've been doing my best not to let this stress seep into my time at home, but the reality is, I'm just not wired that way. I internalize everything. I lose sleep over trying my case in the court of my imagination. The past few days I've actually met with these students and their parents, and instead of resolving the issues like mature adults things have deteriorated further.

Last night I had my fall concert. I was soooo nervous that the kids would fall apart on me. We've worked incredibly hard this quarter, and I love the music they are performing. I knew they would be proud of their performance if I could just keep them and myself focused, and I have to say that it was the best performance we have had yet. My choirs were awesome. Every single choir did their best. Even my non audition general choir was shining brightly. It was sweet success. Tempered by the fact that I knew I had angry parents sitting in the audience glaring me down. I teach 90 students and I'm having a problem with 3. That's only .5% of my student population. How can they possible take up so much of my emotional energy??? I have to find a way to stop thinking about them and start thinking about the other 87 kids who make my out of the home work life so rewarding. They really are worth getting dressed for every day. I really do love this job and I love my students. But I have to find a way to sleep at night so that I can take care of the other people I love. Including myself.

Today I'm taking back my time!! (Did you know that it's take back your time day?...Thanks Holli for sharing.) I'm not giving the naysayers any more of my energy. I'm going to go to school and rejoice with the students who gave me everything they had last night. I'm going to take the time to savor the sweet and forget about the bitter.


  1. Heather - thank you for this post. Congratulations on another successful music program and good for you for savoring and relishing in it.

    I'm so sad to hear of the frustrations you are having with 3 of your students (and their parents!). I know how sensitive you are, but also what a strong women you are. You are a good example balance and I am sure through continued perseverance you will teach ALL of your students what it means to be respectful and good. I can only image how discouraging this period of hostility is for you. Keep your chin up, and keep plugging along. You inspire me!

    Lots of Love,

    PS Way to go on Taking Back Your Time!

  2. WOW! I can't imagine having snarky teenager causing troubles. I am glad that you have found a way to spin it to our benefit. Choir takes discipline and that can be difficult for some kids. Way to stick to your guns and give them what they need and not just what they want! We both benefitted from the discipline of our choir/music teachers. Thinking of you today! -S

  3. For those of us who like to please people, there is nothing worse than feeling attacked by someone, especially in the work setting. I am so glad that your concert went well. It shows that the .5% who is giving you hell isn't worth paying any more attention to. Ha! That's easier said than done, isn't it???

  4. It makes me feel sad to think of your students being obnoxious to you. You are so sweet and you care about them so much. I guess that is part of teaching. Just remember that we all love you!!!


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