Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 283 of 365: Never Say Never

There is a hilarious Hal Sparks routine about the annoyance over, "Never say never." You hear it all the time, and, if you think about it, it's kind of the precursor to "YOLO". To quote Harl Sparks: "I hate when people say that. 'Never say never.' How do you know? 'Never say never!' I'll never fuck your mother."

In the midst of me no longer teaching -- the in midst of a friend of mine completing her last year as a high school teacher -- I had decided that I would never, ever, teach anyone but adults. And then a teacher at a private school contacted the studio I worked at, looking for a tai chi instructor to come in for a workshop.

Given that classroom enrollment has nose-dived since September (I went from at least four to five students a class to wanting to high five the world if I can get three to come in consistently), I decided to ignore my original vow and go for it. Yes, I'd be working with a classroom full of children (and, let's be real, even though we feel like adults as teenagers, we ain't. We so ain't), but it was only for an hour and ten minutes, and it was only a one-time deal. I went in, taught 16 or so high schoolers (plus two teachers who came in to try it out), and came out in one piece. I was nervous, I was a little shaky, I was sweating like a whore in church (or a former teacher in a high school), but, overall, it went pretty well. And I was invited to potentially do an encore class at some point in the future.

Now -- do not get me wrong -- this doesn't mean that I'll be throwing my teacher hat on anytime soon and hoping to make a comeback, this time as a high school teacher. But it's good to know that the possibilities don't have to be as limited as before. There's a world of difference between an hour class here and there and working full-time in a classroom. There's also a huge difference between being the guest speaker and being the actual teacher. If the demo class was any indication, I would be DOA before the school year ran out. It's exhausting, keeping the classroom energy going, making sure that those who are goofing off don't disrupt everyone else.

But I can't help think about how external our world has gotten. Especially "kids these days" don't take a moment to just be bored and let the brain wander. Everyone is either knee-deep in whatever pre-planned activities they (or their parents) set out for them -- or nose-deep in their phone. Things like tai chi and yoga are centering, a reminder that you have to bring that attention inward every once in a while.

High school is rough. You feel awkward in your own skin, you're constantly at odds with your friends, your relationships are just as dramatic as the stupid stuff on TV (perhaps even because of all the stupid stuff on TV) ... the last thing you want to do is learn something as foreign (figuratively and literally) as tai chi. But if they're willing to try it, I'm at least willing to try teaching it.

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