Part timer (4th March 2015)
Part timer… Part timer… Part timer…
The oft sung football chant sung at me while pointing never gets old for some of my work colleagues.
How embarrassing is it that it has taken me until march to provide my next blog entry?
Needless to say I have been busy adjusting to my new lifestyle part-time secondary teacher, part-time guitar/ ukulele teacher, part-time songwriter, part time performer.
Six months ago my knees were knocking at the prospect of giving up a full time income, not to mention the pension attached to it for something of a pipe dream.
Six months later, it all now seems to have been a far less scary proposition to give up full-time work in a school to pursue an alternative career.
I can't say that I'm less busy, in fact I am working longer hours. Including Weekends. It is something however that I would urge other people to try. It has made me a much braver person for a start.
Being (more) in charge of your own destiny gives you an incredible lift and stops some of the moping that you can end up doing at work when you feel powerless to control events around you. It also means that you only have yourself to blame things go wrong. I feel that this is also pretty good for the soul. It makes your approach to life much more positive and solution driven.
I would be lying if I said that we as a family hadn't had to cut our cloth accordingly as far as our usual expenditure is concerned. It's funny but I don't miss the takeaways and the meals out. I actually quite enjoy cooking at home much more.
I would also be lying if I said that it had wiped out the uneasy feeling that I have about the business/ numbers driven way teaching in schools is going. Going part time has actually strengthened my unease in spite of being lucky enough to be working in a good school.
So what have I been doing?
Well, the surprising thing is that the ukulele seems to have taken up much more of my time than I expected. I am a guitarist first and foremost but have now found myself running 4! yes, 4!! ukelele groups and I'm getting a wonderful kick from all of them. Two of the groups are run in primary schools, one of them is in the secondary school where I teach and the last one is an evening group run in Tickhill village nr Doncaster. Much of my time is spent trying to think of very easy two or three chord ukelele songs for beginners, or unusual covers which would work with lots of people singing. This is then followed by hours of me making transcriptions with lyrics and chord charts and trying to balance the amount of sheets to use - kids groups like everything on just 1 sheet as it's less messy - with whether or not they can be read without having to hold them 2m away from their glasses by the retirees at the Tickhill group.
I seem to have gone through a full range of repertoire from 1950s vocal groups like The Drifters to the Morecambe & Wise song, Status Quo, The Eagles and even songs from musicals.
One of my secondary pupils asked me if I was deliberately choosing songs from yoghurt adverts. I've never heard ukulele versions of Status Quo or Nirvana songs played on a yoghurt advert but it may be something new for advertising agencies to try.
All in all, the first 6 months of our new life has been a wonderful time,for me especially, and has allowed us to meet so many cracking people and allowedboth my wife and I, a real on what really matters in life.