Keeping up appearances

It’s been a while since I wrote in my blog so I thought I should do some catch up reporting of events.

Firstly: I’ve been busy. Very busy. I’m teaching 37 hours a week at the moment. For those peeps who think that that just sounds like an ordinary week of work, sure, go right ahead. Think that. But teaching and knowledge transmission is a really specialised thing to do. Most classroom teachers teach up to 24 hours a week. Full time uni staff teaching one-to-one teaching have a maximum of 24 contact hours per week. I’ve chosen 37 hours. Why? Hmm. Need the money. But I also love my jobs. Singing teaching, like any music teaching, requires deep engagement with the learner. It requires great diagnostic skills of the human voice and body, both from a visual and aural sense. It requires one to think clearly about text, character and musically expressive communication, and it requires a whole lot of piano playing. It also requires one to be incredibly empathetic and understanding of the foibles that students bring into the lesson, and all that takes energy. Skills transmission? Meh. I’m also training students in the art of learning, being, and becoming singers.

So, I’m REALLY tired. All the time. But I’ve slowly got into match fitness mode, so to speak.

Secondly, 37 hours doesn’t seem like an overly onerous week. Sure! I can fit in 16 hours of PhD study on top of that. Said no PhD student EVER. Because from Monday to Wednesdays I teach from 8.30am – 8.30pm. The biggest break I have is 90 minutes. It’s also called lunch and staff meetings. So, what about Thursday? Sure. Thursday I finish at 4.30pm. Enough time to get home, walk the puppy, go to gym, then enjoy date night with DH. What about Friday? I finish before 1pm. Yay. Ok, so I have 4 hours there in which I can legitimately study. Have I? No. I’m buggered. I need to do the groceries, pay bills, do the business accounts, pr and try to clean the house a little bit before the weekend.

So, what about mornings and weekends? Well, here’s the thing. I’m not a morning person, and I force myself to go to the gym on Tuesdays at 6.30. Maybe as the year progresses I’ll be jamming 2 hours study into my mornings.

Ok, so what about the weekend? Yep, I have blocked 5 hours per day for study. Did I do any yesterday? No. I went to the gym, then I rested, cleaned the house a bit and shopped for groceries. Spent some time with the family. I did about 1 hour of work while watching tv. Sunday? Yep, you guessed it. The week’s study rolled into one frantic day.

Thirdly, exercise has become 2 days per week plus dog walking. Food has become something to eat to fuel my day, don’t care about the flavour, but I’m maintaining a reasonably low calorie count. Easy when one cuts out sweet food, pasta and potatoes. Still slim and trim, but I am aware that my work output is diminishing and that 2 days dedicated exercise is not quite enough to maintain a weight loss regime. Must…get…to…the…gym…

Fourthly, keeping the house clean is a diabolical task at the moment. So we’ve some plans to try and make it better. All cost a lot of money. The first is to spray paint the unbearable bathroom floor tiles, bath and shower recess. Cost: about $2500. The second is to hire a weekly cleaner. Cost: about $75 per week. Worth it? With a small, grotty puppy, yes it is. It means that at least the house will be dusted and the floors and bathroom cleaned to a high standard. The third is to hire a regular gardener. Cost? Unknown. But kind of on the “not this month” pile.

Keeping up appearances of being capable of doing everything is killing me. But in a good way. I like being this busy, and I hope that my study will become more targeted over the next few weeks. If not, I can say goodbye to my PhD. Because it will never get done without a supreme effort. Bring on my Yorkshire study retreat!

On the plus side, we’re just about ready to send through the final draft of our book. Then I can REALLY focus on the PhD. Promise.



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