Saturday, September 19, 2009

This is Not What I Went to School For

This is not what I went to school for. I am a performer. I love teaching, and I have great students and I enjoy every minute I spend with them, but the amount of time I have to spend NOT teaching in order to teach is becoming absurd.

Scheduling them all in the first place is a major jigsaw puzzle that has to combine my free hours and theirs, taking commutes and timezones into account, and remembering that some of them are taking hour lessons, some half-hours, some forty-five minutes, and some change week to week depending on how much time or money or prepared material they have. Some take lessons every week, some every other week, and some at erratic intervals throughout the semester. Then there's billing - those who pay me monthly need new invoices each month that reflect how much they paid me last time and all of the adjustments that came up over the past month - how many times they missed and whether those absences were excused or unexcused - how many reeds they haven't paid me for yet. And never mind the fact that my performing schedule as a freelancer is different every week and sometimes - often - affects one or more students and those people need to be rescheduled or canceled and apologized to, and sometimes that affects what they've already paid and I have to keep track of that.

I am a well organized person with good work habits and lots of notebooks and productivity software working for me, but still I find that part of my brain is always active trying to hold onto the details of my teaching schedule and what music I have to bring along for whom and who I have to remember to talk to about whatever. Why was there never a class at Eastman on how to actually negotiate the details of teaching privately? And why are these hours I spend pondering my calendar not billable?

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