Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Noisy vs Quiet

My husband and I have opposite jobs. Hubby is a high school teacher. He deals with hundreds of kids every day. Some of them are a joy; others are your worst nightmare. All of them are teenagers, and they are loud, excitable and boisterous. They vy with each other for his attention. Teenager noise reverberates off every surface.

When Hubby gets home in the afternoon, he looks like a horde of wild chimps just chased him up the street. There are no actual chimps. He is just desperate for some peace and quiet.

As for me, my main job is to run our home. I'm also a music teacher, and I have students come to our home after school. So all my work is very home-based. Its mostly quiet. My sound-scape is silence, the wind in the leaves, birdcalls, the distant roar of the ocean. When my husband comes home, sometimes Im having a peaceful nap on the couch.

Recently we swapped over. My husband is on long service leave. He is being peaceful and quiet at home, playing on his computer, and occasionally going for a stroll in the sun. And I've been offered work. Today I taught at a primary school Band Camp, and then I came home and taught private students. I was in charge (at Band Camp) of 8 small boys with trumpets, and 1 girl. Out of the boys, 4 were quiet and well-behaved, and 4 were, well,.... attention-seeking missiles.

Ways to Get Attention (from the Secret Manual of Boys)
Interfere with your classmates and tell them what to do, Try to tell your teacher what to do, Offer your opinion on everything - loudly, Stand up when you should be sitting down, Put your hand up and ask a completely irrelevant question, If someone else is talking interrupt them, Play your trumpet really loud, Offer to do a solo when it's not your turn, Boast about what you can play (when you actually cant), Take your instrument apart, Try to play your instrument by blowing into the wrong end, Argue about who is going to play which part, Poke the guy next to you, Turn to the wrong page on your music, Fiddle around when you should be playing.

Fortunately, I was warned about this bunch. I squashed the worst of it very quickly. (My secret? Always have stick-on name tags. If they tell you a fake name, say "I don't think that really is your name. So Im going to call you Montmorency." If they are bossy, I say "I will be the teacher thanks, not you." If they whinge that someone was unfair to them, I say "Well, maybe he/she secretly doesn't like you." etc etc). In the end they were transformed from a raucous trumpet riot into a well-coordinated brass section. They were verging on 'tight' - high praise in the world of musical ensembles!

When I got home, I couldnt believe how very quiet it was. You could hear every car and every bird. I even heard the sound of the wind in the trees. My husband was pottering around peacefully. I sank on to the couch and stared into space for a while.

It was good to experience what my hubby is handling all day. (I wouldnt exactly say Hubby experienced my job, because there wasnt any milk or bread and no chores had been done. But thats Okay. I know what it took to earn his long service leave.)

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