I stood backstage last week at our spring pops concert with our band director. We looked at each other and said “I can’t believe we’re here again – it feels like we just did this and it’s been an entire year. How did that happen?”

It got me thinking about my job as a music teacher and how it influences how I feel the passage of time. Like most things in teaching, I’m used to certain things occurring at certain times of year. As opposed to my friends who work outside the world of education (or so I’ve been told), I have many work-related landmarks that occur at almost the exact time of year, every year. They occur in the same place, I’m doing the same series of actions, and sometimes I’m even wearing the same thing.  

Here are a few examples for my job –

  • Welcome back assembly on the first day of school

  • Our winter concert (huge checkmark off of my list)

  • My elementary concerts – I specifically get the same feels as soon as the last one is finished and I can finally start thinking about Christmas for my own family

  • We do overnight trips every two years with our students, alternating between a “bus trip” and Disney in FL (this year is a bus trip year)

  • Spring pops concert

  • Graduation

  • Last day of school

In each of these examples I find myself thinking “how did an entire year go by?” And I feel like the deeper I get into my career, the faster the years seem to go.

Don’t even get me started on my own children – because that time is slipping through my fingers at a furious rate.

The nice part of this mental acceleration, however, is that it gives me a chance to think back on the previous year and see the ways my life has changed over time. We are leaving early on Thursday morning to take our students to Philadelphia on a performance trip. The last time we did one of these bus trips our destination was Washington DC. Dominic was only 2 years old – the same age Zachary is now. We had just started talking about the possibility of having another child. I look at life now, gearing up for a similar trip with my students. We live in a new town, in a new house, Dominic is away on a Kindergarten field trip today and we have a whole new person living in our house. The senior students I had on that last bus trip are posting their college graduation pictures. So much life has happened in what feels like the blink of an eye.

I’m thankful for this job that lets me have the perfect blend of structure and predictability while also being different every year. Same colleagues, same office, same routines, lame landmark events, but the students are always different, keeping things interesting.

Ashokan Farewell

Ashokan Farewell

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood