X chromosomes only, please

Way, way back, when I was young and single and skinny, I taught for an all-girls' school in Pittsburgh PA. I remember taking the assignment, initially a part-time voice class and general music gig, with some trepidation. My dad was a Union guy, and here I was, hitching my wagon to a school that paid less than a public school gig, had no union protection, and did I mention no boys (well, other than a few faculty members)?

Who would've known that teaching at a girls school would've made me a better person?

I was there for five years. Found my teaching chops, taught a lot of Italian art song ("Lasciatemi morire", anyone?), sang a lot of Italian art song, conducted my first professional orchestra, watched the towers fall, skipped as many faculty meetings as I possibly could (that particular irony is not lost on me in my present incarnation, where I languish in meetings several times weekly), played in the pit for several musicals, dated a colleague or two, lived with a colleague or two, and made some great friends and great music. It was a great place, committed to nurturing young thinkers and artists who just happened to be women.

That particular school took me from an insecure college graduate to a self-possessed teacher with the courage to give the "singing thing" one more try. It watched me make a bevy of mistakes, professional and personal, and supported me while forcing me to deal with the consequences of my actions. In short, it helped me to grow up, to make the transition to responsible, silly, gratifying adulthood.

In recent months, several of my favorite students from my days at that school have found me [yay Facebook!]. The professional paths they've followed are all interesting: jazz singer, private school development officer, cantor, future prosecutor, pop singer. But they are still the same open, inquisitive, kind young women I remember from my classroom. I am thrilled at their integrity, creativity and thoughtfulness. They are fabulous women, and I look forward to forging some adult friendships with them.

Adult friendships of the responsible, silly, highly gratifying kind.

Brava ladies! I have no right to be, but I am so proud of all of you.


Knocky said…
what? dated a colleague or two omg...haha. thanks for the props and being such a great teacher. - JD
Knocky said…
what? dated a colleague or two omg...haha. thanks for the props and for being a great teacher. ~ JD
Leslie said…
that was a killer post! it's so funny thinking back to Ellis days, now with a completely different perspective, and being able to relate on a new level. I totally get it now.

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