"Do I dare disturb the universe?"
~T.S. Eliot

Thursday, December 27, 2012

An (un)expected Journey...

This is a night for reviving my blog from the depths of hibernation.  I feel like sometimes, whenever I am involved in a really intense, deep experience (training in Israel, teaching at Interlochen, etc.) I have a direction in which to write, and my words and reflection upon the experience keeps flowing due to something like inertia.  But when I come to a stop, it’s hard to get momentum going again.

This is not to say that this fall has been a sleepy time; on the contrary, I’ve been wildly busy.  For years now, I have been trying to decide on a supplementary career path in addition to (mainly freelance thus far) dancing, these either being the route of pursuing a degree in physical therapy, or achieve a public school teaching certificate.  I have chosen the path of teaching (or perhaps, shall we say, it chose me?) and just completed my first of three semesters of a post-baccalaureate program through UW-Milwaukee to achieve a Dance Education PreK-12 certification.  Getting back into the swing of school again has been challenging (my brain is out of practice at focusing on a paper/assignment for long periods of time, working multiple jobs simultaneously is a bit overwhelming, and I must commute to Milwaukee once-twice a week).  However, I think the program is extremely worth it, and I’m feeling a new sense of purpose and decisiveness about my choices.  To be honest, I wish I could skip ahead to the endorsement tests and have my certificate in hand.  Next semester is about to be crazy, as I will be taking enough credit hours to be considered a full-time student as I push to cram all of my classes, observations, and Elementary student teaching in (Secondary—my personal focus/main enjoyment—will be in the Fall).

I have written before about how I unexpectedly was drawn to teaching when I decided to get a subbing certificate and began subbing and choreographing at my former high school.  Since then, I have fallen in love with teaching, sharing, educating, and experiencing along with my students—young dancers—from whom I am all not that far removed in terms of years.  I truly cannot wait to be well on my way to my high school student teaching and begin my job hunt.

I believe so fiercely in arts education.  I think—no, I know—that art has the power to change people.  To lift up those who are sick or in need of healing (a topic close to home right now, for my family).  To feel compassion.  To choose diplomacy instead of violence (Would things have been different if Adam Lanza’s mother had collected musical instruments rather than guns?  I would argue yes, again and again, though it is tragically too late to pose a case study...).  To inspire a different way of thinking.  To connect to another person.  I believe it like a religion, so it only makes sense that I would go into this field about which I am so passionate.

Even though I’m feeling excitement and relief at choosing a path, I still have conflicting emotions regarding leaving my job in physical therapy behind (I am currently somewhat phasing-out of my job at Athletico.  I expect/hope to still receive odd hours here and there, but mostly not, to make more room for school, studying, dancing, and teaching).  When I think about it, as a close third to dance and music, physical therapy has been a very stable, sustaining, and positive source in my life, since I was a teenager.  After about a year of ankle pain and difficulty dancing, especially en pointe, from age 16-17, I had ligament reconstruction surgery to correct ankle instability.  I was introduced to Athletico as a patient, my mom driving me to Evanston twice or more times a week to see an AMAZING performing arts-certified physical therapist at the clinic there, Sarah (At this time, there were fewer performing arts PTs than there are now, as it is a growing field…so we made the half-an-hour-to-45-min commute).  My time in rehab was not only successful, but my PTs and the aides I worked with made it enjoyable and exciting.  Various summers in college, I found myself back for therapy with Sarah.  And recently, I went back for a couple more month of therapy in Evanston when I had a reoccurrence of inflammation in the same ankle.  Again, Sarah proved to brilliant when she figured out that malalignment in my knee was the root cause of my ankle irritation.   So that’s me as a patient.  My relationship with Athletico as an employee began in July 2009, about two months out of college.  I have worked at my “home” clinic of Bannockburn since then, working with an amazing team of PTs, aides, office staff, and massage therapist.  At times when I have needed more work, I have acted as a “floater” working at other northern clinics.  I absolutely love working with patients, most especially high school-college/20’s athletes.  Seeing young people who are motivated and excited to get back to their game is always so fun, inspiring and reciprocally motivating.  In more ways than one, Athletico is equated in my mind with sustenance, resilience, and forward motion.

I don’t want or like to think that I am leaving the field of physical therapy behind as I move forward with my plans to teach.  I know that I will continue to incorporate safe teaching practices and injury prevention in my classes.  But I do wonder if I can ever achieve anything more than that.  I sometimes still think I may eventually go back to school—perhaps not for a DPT—but maybe for a PTA (assistant).  As far as I understand it, PTA’s have less school and can practice most of the same skills as PTs do except they are not allowed to evaluate patients for the first time.  If I am eventually able to achieve a PTA, my dream would be to continue working in a high school but with a greater connection to the athletic trainer and knowledge to work with dancers with injuries.

Well, I suppose I wrote this blog entry as an introduction to further entries, so that, for people who follow, if I mention “school,” you might know what I’m talking about.  However, sometimes I wonder WHO actually reads this. (??)  I know that when I blogged in Israel, I attracted many followers who were also interested in the contemporary dance scene in Israel, Gaga class, Batsheva and KCDC, travel abroad, etc, and also wrote some of my entries with publication in mind. When I wrote at Interlochen, other alums read and reminisced through my blog. When I wrote about the sad and sudden death of a friend, it was a way for me to grieve and memoralize him, and it turned out his friends and family loved hearing a friend's perspective. That being said...however...with an entry like this, sometimes I wonder….excuse my language but…. “Who the **** actually cares?”  I feel slightly narcissistic, writing about myself and putting it onto the open forum that is the internet, and if there’s anything I don’t want to be, it’s a narcissist. So, if you are a reader of blogs or a fellow blogger, can you lend me some insight?   I do gain a cathartic release and pleasure in writing, and I have a huge appreciation for language as an artistic tool.  In addition, if I want to work on my writing skills for future possible publication, practice is necessary.  However I could easily keep that to myself in a journal, not post it online, for all to see.  So….what is the point of all of these ramblings?  Why does anyone write a blog?  If you can answer this in a way that makes plain sense, I owe you much respect!

Until next time….Good night, on this beautiful, crisp, wintry evening....