Retirement Dreams and Stranger Things

My dad has the best retirement gig around. He teaches at the community college in Harrison. He has taught Western Civilization, and I think another hstory class. Next fall he teaches a cinema class, “Great Films” or something like that. He’ll be busy all summer deciding what to show and what to say about each movie. And he’s not limited to older movies, either, nor is he restricted to some critical canon of motion pictures. Basically he’s free to teach whatever he wants (hello Young Farnkenstein). That would just be too much fun. We were debating options yesterday. I’ll let you know what he chooses.

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. When I was in junior high, I asked my mom, a former 9th Grade English teacher, what she thought of that and she promptly replied, “Nooooo” with Sigourney Weaver-esque vigor[1] that I could almost hear her say “there is no Dana, only Zuul.” What a sad state of affairs the world is in when a teacher does not recommend her vocation to others. I knew it would be hard work – I’d seen the Ralph Macchio/Nick Nolte movie Teachers and I knew the job was somewhat akin to going to war against stupidity. I knew the battleground was the hell of other people. What better war to fight, I figure? Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for, supposedly.

Nevertheless I got in through a side door by teaching guitar for several years in Maumelle. That was fun. I miss hanging around kids and showing them how to be creative, and reminding them that adolescence is, for the most part, a cyclone of irrelevant social pressures, needless anxiety, and relentless psychological abuse/marketing. I like to think I helped some people.

If I won the lottery and didn’t have to worry about money, I’d start a pop music school, something like School of Rock but with more emphasis on different styles. I’ve actually thought about this quite a bit. The atmosphere would be more social, like Banjo Center on Saturdays where kids are having a musical community despite the commercial nature of the venue. We’d have a digital library where kids could listen to a massive selection of music, stacks of music books, tablature folios, and instruments to play. Maybe a few rehearsal rooms for jamming and lessons. Basically a larger version of my house, open to the public, with maybe a coffee bar/soda fountain or something suitably snacky. I’ve wondered about how it might financially sustain itself – subscriptions? donations? tips? Fortunately most of the “stock” I already have. I’d just need to pay rent, which would be considerable given the needs of the facility. Anyway, just another thing I think about before I go to bed.

1.) Or maybe Bill Cosby’s wife in that “YOUUUU GAVE THEM CHOCOLATE CAAAKE” voice.

One thought on “Retirement Dreams and Stranger Things”

  1. My mom’s been teaching for 30 years and loves it to this day. Its her calling, plain and simple. I do some “teaching-ish” stuff with my kids-psychoeducational is the word used in the therapy world. Its quite rewarding. There are tricks to ward off compassion fatigue and burnout. Wish society and teachers themselves would be more positive about the profession..

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