Agony, Ecstasy, Etc.
Normally I'd be in a much better mood on a day when I had two gigs. Yesterday found me performing two shows, one at a Catholic school, and one at a far south side Lions Club event. I was and am still extremely grateful for the work and, aside from the amount of time was stuck in traffic, I really only had one complaint about the day.
The first booking, in the morning at the Chicago area Catholic school, was quite frustrating. I did a very good show so far as I could tell, but the audience tried my patience considerably. All grades up through 8th grade were in attendance and since my show has appeal for all ages there was no problem for me. However, the kids from about 6th grade on up took it upon themselves to be "too cool for school" and looked at the program as an excuse to get out of class and nothing more.
There was lots of background noise, surface chatter, and a total lack of respect for the person performing the show, if not the folks around them who were genuinely interested in seeing the show. These things happen, more frequently every year I'm sorry to say. I don't really take it personally as there's only so much I can do to maintain a level of sanity within the situation, which I did very well in this case. I mean, it is the fault of the parents for not teaching their children some etiquette or manners, and certainly a problem of the faculty for not maintaining order within their school parameters.
A lot of performers fail to realize that they can simply stop the show and explain to the students that their time could be better spent back in the classroom instead of enjoying the presentation their school chose for them to watch. That usually stops the nonsense. Unfortunately I had to make several such stops along the way.
The truly frustrating part was that NONE of the faulty, no teachers, nuns, nobody did anything to either discipline nor stop the students from acting out. There was nobody taking the time to reminded the classes that they are representing their school in a poor manner. Noone removed any of the more serious trouble-makers. Not a soul in this Catholic school felt it necessary to show any sort of authority in any way. THAT was disturbing to me.
At one point I actually made some of he teachers go into the stands to sit among their students (something that they should have been doing in the first place) in order to be "on the scene" and police the situation better. This quieted the crowd initially, but the nonsense started up almost immediately afterwards and what did the teachers do? NOTHING! I shudder to see what the classrooms are like.
I was fortunate enough not to attend any Catholic schools as a kid, but I sure have worked at many of them in the last 21 years. I usually look forward to these places as I know that the students will be well behaved for fear of Sister Mary Confusing (Thanks, Bud!) reigning hell upon them. I wasn't asking for a full-on holy ass-kicking. A "SHHH!" would have been nice, though.
Yesterday, I saw just one more example of the AWFUL parenting present today. Behavior like this starts at home.
I was also privy to just how little authority the educators have anymore within the schools. I'm sure this has a lot to do with frivolous lawsuits, the need to coddle kids, promote self esteem above all else, and of course the ever-present budget cuts. However this also has a lot to do with the quality of the teachers inside these schools. I know that it is a very difficult profession, filled with challenges at all levels. Many of these challenges , coupled with the large amount of politics involved among the administration and the parents are responsible for teachers being broken to the point of total ambivalence, as in yesterday. Still, you knew what the job entailed when you made the decision to go into a thankless profession with precious few benefits and even less pay. Suck it up and get control of your students. I needed the money, but I'm not the one being paid to take crap from kids. That would be YOUR job.
Anyway, after the show, feeling considerably angry and something less than proud of my ability to make a living that day, I did the only logical thing that could brighten my day and raise my spirits.
I was in the neighborhood.
I'm sure I'll have more to tell you about Superdawg later. Just know that I felt all better afterwards!