Exit, stage right.

5 05 2009

I suppose there’s no point hiding it anymore, now that the people who really need to know about it already do.

I shall be going on a year’s sabbatical, if you will, returning to my home province to complete the requirements for the national Licensure Examination for Teachers. This year, the Comission on Higher Education and the Philippine Regulations Commission raised the number of education units needed for one to take the exam from 18 to a whopping 30. If I studied for that while working, at a rate of 3 units a semester, why, I’d be studying for five years! My parents, who are educators themselves, got a whiff of this and dropped me a line, saying, “We would like to sponsor your studies. Board, lodging, and tuition care of us, of course. The catch? Please come home for a year. You might want to take the opportunity while we’re still around to offer it.”

That was almost a month ago. I thought about it for a week, knowing that my parents had an excellent point (many of my colleagues agree – their eyes and faces all lit up when I mentioned my parents would sponsor me) but that taking the opportunity would mean leaving the students that I so dearly love and the school that has been my home for the past five years. And yes, there’s The Orchestra to consider.

Five years ago, I walked onstage as The Orchestra’s only cellist. I had put The Orchestra together so as not to have to listen to 30 students play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star one after another. Seeing they, now joined together as a larger performing group, could play more dignified repertoire, I proceeded to be ambitious and program arrangements of Vivaldi’s Spring, the popular hymn Amazing Grace, Edgar Meyer’s Short Trip Home, and Jay Ungar’s Ashokan Farewell. I was young and a bit more foolish than I am today, and I confess I shamelessly inserted a cello solo into Ashokan Farewell when I, in retrospect, really should not have done so.

Five years later, I can no longer be so shameless, since I can’t take anymore solos. The Orchestra has more than doubled in number and the students have time and again surprised many a jaded colleague who thought they were coming to watch a laughable, if adorable student performance. Today, the students are such that what used to take 3 months to learn they can now do in one rehearsal. There eyes are experienced, their fingers accurate, their ears sharp.

And for one year, I must leave them.

I confess, it is flattering to hear reports of them losing the motivation to play in my absence, to hear some of them whine, “Don’t go…” even though they know I must. But it also disturbs me that I have failed to train a successor, or at the very least, a substitute, thus making The Orchestra very me-centric, which was never my intention at any point. Now, as I prepare to bid everyone goodbye for a year, there’s a mad scramble to prepare everyone to carry-on without me. Mental note: train a pool of conductors when I get back.

Of course, I don’t intend to just study (oh, how boring!) – I intend to tie up the several loose ends that I’ve left hanging ever since landing my teaching job at school. Things like learning to drive and getting a driver’s license, clearing up my social security and taxpayer’s status, that sort of thing.

And so I will miss the school, the students, The Orchestra – some of the students I might not see again, since they graduate this school year and few students are seen again on campus once they’ve graduated. I will miss my colleagues – some more than others *ahem* – but I will be back. I can only stay away for so long πŸ™‚

Odd. I’m actually excited by this sabbatical – I have loved every moment of the past five years – but this…this feels like I’m turning a corner.

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4 responses

5 05 2009
cbp

we’ll miss you greatly! balik agad! πŸ˜€

6 05 2009
yanangski

waaaaaahhhh! who’s going to conduct?

anyway, im happy for you, really i am. πŸ™‚ enjoy your time there and be fruitful. we’ll miss you!

then again i have to set aside my clarinet lessons. *sigh*

God bless! ajah! πŸ˜€

11 05 2009
Arvin

ei eigs,

God bless in this next chapter in your life.
i’m pretty certain that your return in the province would open up new things for you.

11 05 2009
isaaa

sirrrrrrrrrrrrrr T_______________T

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