Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Rhythms of School

I have been in some sort of teaching position for over 35 years now. One of the things I rather like about being in schools, at least as they are currently structured, are their distinctive rhythms. Virtually everyone knows the exhilarating feeling of being released for a long summer break or the exciting anticipation of a new school year about to begin. What gets mentioned less often is the trajectory of a typical semester in which the work load and the pressure build fairly steadily as the term proceeds until that pressure, at least for many students and a few faculty as well, grows so intense that it gets in the way of everything else. I am working with a few students this very semester who are experiencing that sinking feeling of needing to get everything done as time seeps away from them.

But the up side of that pressure is being released from it; few feelings are more pleasant or more gratifying, particularly if you have performed well. I am not only working with students who are experiencing that pressure, I am feeling it myself, but I can also anticipate the feeling of being freed of that pressure and what I plan to do with my new found freedom as a resident of New York City.

One plan is to take in a museum a day. There is an ongoing exhibit about Lincoln in New York City at the New-York Historical Society that merits another visit. A show about the photographer Man-Ray at the Met should prove interesting. The curving walls of the Guggenheim are still covered with Kandinskys that demand another look, and a new program in their Works and Process series exploring the connections among Sex, Stress, and Music is calling as well. MoMA has a kind of crazy show about the film director Tim Burton, but it is rather fun and a bit more than at first meets the eye, which means we'll be back at MoMA again. The Whitney offers the abstractions of Georgia O'Keeffe, and the Museum of the City of New York is exhibiting some fabulous photographs from Look Magazine that require a look. Penultimately, and, of course, this is only the beginning of what will become a longer list, the museumofSEX down in Chelsea is advertising Sex in Action and Naked Ambition, two shows that are perfect for the holiday season. Finally, the Morgan Museum invites folks to see the original manuscripts of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Now that really is a holiday season must and another great way to unwind from that pressure-filled school semester.

No comments:

Post a Comment