I have no issues telling anyone who will listen that last Friday night, at approximately eight forty-five, I teared up a bit. I was standing right at the edge of the stage watching Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul playing just for me, and I got all misty. Okay, maybe weren't playing just for me, but they sure made it feel that way.
Let me back up: A few months ago, I caught wind of an organization called Teach Rock. Their champion and their muse was none other than Steve Van Zandt. I know. This is where I lose a few people, but if I say "guitarist for the E Street Band," some will come wandering back. Little, Miami, or whatever modifier you put in front of Mister Van Zandt's name, has been singing and playing in support of the teachers of America - for free.
I got to see Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul for free. From the second row. And got a free T-shirt. I got to hear him and his band rock the Fillmore in San Francisco for two solid hours, and before that, along with a sea of fellow educators, I was treated to a glimpse at what he referred to as "STEAM" curriculum: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. He and his organization have shoehorned Arts back into the equation, encouraging students to find what they love and follow their own path. The message: Don't teach kids what to think. Teach them how to think.
From my own years as a student of music and a student in general, I can remember finding the history in the songs I heard. Procol Harum had a hit with a Bach mashup. And the way math swirled around in all those different beats and rhythms. I spent most of my junior high and high school years doing homework with my headphones on. Listening to music.
So there I was, twenty-plus years into my teaching career, treated to a concert by one of my favorite artists, dancing and singing along. I felt joy. The night, the music, the soul, the sound. Rock and roll was there to save me once again and remind me that I made the right choice, all those years ago. When the show was over, I didn't exactly want to go home, but I did want to take that feeling with me wherever I went. Teachers have power. Music has power. Together they make a difference. Together, teachers make a difference.
I had been making the joke earlier that this was a better perk than the school photo I get for free once a year, but now I see those as souvenirs that I can use as a way to show my commitment to the next generation. Thank you Steven. Thank you for making me feel happy to be a teacher.