Mount Eden High School Listening Campaign Transcripts
Interviewee: Angel Perez, student (Junior)
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:00.17] We are working with leaders from around the country to create a plan for bringing arts and creativity to all students at all schools every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so that we can make a plan that really works for you and your school. Can we ask you a few questions?
I: [00:00:15.19] Can you please state your name and spell it out please?
AP: [00:00:18.04] Angel Mora Perez. A-n-g-e-l M-o-r-a P-e-r-e-z.
I: [00:00:27.12] Thank you. What makes you want to go to school every day?
AP: [00:00:32.05] It's mostly the more artistic classes. That's what keeps me going here cause if it weren't for those I'd really hate being here.
I: [00:00:41.04] What about the art classes makes you enjoy being at school?
AP: [00:00:45.05] Just lets me show my creativity. I enjoy it cause everything that's made in art is made with some kind of passion.
I: [00:00:56.21] When I say "the arts" what comes to mind?
AP: [00:00:59.22] Music, visual arts, drawings, paintings, music, singing, dancing. All that kind of stuff.
I: [00:01:08.27] Do you do any of these things in school, in after school or on weekends programs or at home?
AP: [00:01:15.07] I take two artistic classes. I take the sculpture class or 3-D design, whichever name you want. I take a piano class where I'm learning how to play piano. I also do art club after school every Thursday.
I: [00:01:31.20] What do you think of when I say "arts education"?
AP: [00:01:34.26] Mostly just the classes. I think it might just be something with teaching how to be creative in life overall.
I: [00:01:48.02] Does your school include arts education?
AP: [00:01:52.19] If by what I said, I think so.
I: [00:01:57.29] What does creativity mean to you?
AP: [00:02:01.12] Creativity? I'd have to say creativity is having some kind of talent and you're using that talent with some kind of passion to create art.
I: [00:02:18.16] What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?
AP: [00:02:22.06] To me, it's mostly music. I don't know. If I'm uninspired or something, just play some music and then I start thinking of more ideas like that. That's what gets me inspired.
I: [00:02:38.16] What can your school do to inspire your creativity?
AP: [00:02:46.16] I don't know exactly. I don't have an exact idea.
I: [00:02:59.19] You don't think that there's any way that they can have more people helping you out, learning things or there's nothing like that?
AP: [00:03:05.17] Now that you bring it up, probably yeah. I'm just not sure exactly how.
I: [00:03:11.07] Do you think that you're getting the most of your education?
AP: [00:03:16.10] I think so. I think so. I think I get the education I need to at least go to college. At least for that.
I: [00:03:26.18] Do you believe you are in a safe learning community?
AP: [00:03:31.09] Yeah. I think I'm pretty safe here cause this school is very diverse. Some people say it's the most diverse. I'm not sure about it but they do say that. I wouldn't get harassed or anything like that around here.
I: [00:03:51.15] What opportunities are opening up for you from your education?
AP: [00:03:56.28] I'm not sure about that.
I: [00:04:05.20] What classes are you taking? What kinds of things do you wanna do?
AP: [00:04:09.22] Do I just practically say my schedule?
I: [00:04:14.06] Just explain some of the stuff that you're learning in school.
AP: [00:04:17.04] Alright. Other than the standard history, math, English, all that stuff, I'm taking a higher Spanish cause I'm a native speaker. I'm also taking like I said the two art classes. That's what I'm taking to stray away from the other stuff really.
I: [00:04:51.10] Do you think that can help you get into what you wanna do in life? Or do you not know what you wanna do when you're older?
AP: [00:04:56.14] I do what I want to do and I think it would help me later in my life. I think I want to become a musician when I grow up.
I: [00:05:06.13] What do you think made it happen so that you can become a musician or do what you wanna do? That do you think the school was able to do for that to happen?
AP: [00:05:18.17] Teach the art stuff. If I wouldn't be taking piano I wouldn't know how to read music at all cause I didn't take any of the other stuff they do to learn that. I think just having the classes available is good.
I: [00:05:38.14] Who do you think contributed to that?
AP: [00:05:40.18] Mostly the art teachers. They're dedicated to this. Sometimes I hear them talking to each other and they like what they do so they try pushing for it more.
I: [00:05:55.09] Do you think your teachers help you to succeed?
AP: [00:05:58.02] Yes, I think so. I think my teacher out here, he does help me. If I don't notice something that he does, he gives me a different perspective on how to look at what I do. So I think that helps a lot.
I: [00:06:15.11] Do you think that you've developed a bond with some of these teachers?
AP: [00:06:19.03] With the artistic teachers, yes I think I have. I could talk to them if I need to. So I think that's something important for students as well to be friendly with their teachers. Or being able to just talk to your teachers like they're just human beings.
I: [00:06:41.13] Is school relevant to what you want out of life?
AP: [00:06:44.03] Is school relevant? I don't think it's exactly relevant to me becoming a musician or something like that but, I think it will be useful in some cases where I might just need it.
I: [00:07:05.06] What do you want out of life? And what do you need from school?
AP: [00:07:08.17] I don't know. Could you repeat the question?
I: [00:07:17.17] What do you want out of life? And what do you need from school to make that happen?
AP: [00:07:22.13] I guess I just wanna be successful. I think schools could help for a little bit.
I: [00:07:39.06] Do you feel like you are getting the education you need to prepare for adulthood?
AP: [00:07:44.29] Some of it. I don't think it teaches you enough to go through adulthood. But I think it starts to teach you a little bit.
I: [00:07:56.20] What do you think that the schools can do to help you prepare better for adulthood?
AP: [00:08:02.00] Teach us stuff that adults have to do in their later life, something like taxes. I don't know.
I: [00:08:11.14] Alright. That concludes our interview. Thank you.
AP: [00:08:14.24] Thank you. Thank you for being here.
Interviewee: Candace Cofield, Youth Intervention Specialist
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:29.01] Are you the principal here?
CC: [00:00:30.22] No. I'm an administrator. I'm technically called the Youth Intervention Specialist.
I: [00:00:36.25] OK, cool. Ok, so -
CC: [00:00:40.16] It's like an Assistant Principal but not quite. Mr. Simpson is the Assistant Principal.
(background chit chat about the questions)
I: [00:01:04.11] Just for the record could you state your name and spell it?
CC: [00:01:08.03] Sure. Candace Cofield. C-a-n-d-a-c-e C-o-f-i-e-l-d.
I: [00:01:15.09] Candace, we are working with leaders from around the county to create a plan for bringing arts and creativity to all students at all schools every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can make a plan that works for you and your school. Can we proceed by asking you a few questions?
CC: [00:01:32.13] Sure.
I: [00:01:32.29] What makes you want to go to school every day?
CC: [00:01:36.23] Knowing that I can have some kind of an impact.
I: [00:01:43.24] What does creativity mean for you?
CC: [00:01:46.08] Creativity means being able to express oneself in multiple ways driven by inspiration hopefully to motivate one’s self and others.
I: [00:02:00.07] What ignites your creativity, imagination or passion?
CC: [00:02:05.08] Seeing any models of excellence out in the world.
I: [00:02:10.20] There's some good examples out there, definitely. What do you think ignites your student's creativity, imagination, and passion?
CC: [00:02:17.13] I think when students see something novel that they perceive to be also attainable for themselves, I think that inspires their creativity.
I: [00:02:30.01] What can your school do better to help inspire your creativity?
CC: [00:02:36.13] My personal or my students?
I: [00:02:37.21] Your personal. Or passion.
CC: [00:02:44.09] Create designated times designed just to focus on that aspect of our work.
I: [00:02:53.04] What can your school to better inspire your student’s creativity?
CC: [00:02:59.28] Bring in more real life examples from outside the campus to give different versions and expressions of creativity.
I: [00:03:08.05] So they can have something to relate to a little bit more.
CC: [00:03:10.01] Exactly. That for whatever reason they listen to people who they don't see every day more than they do those they see every day.
I: [00:03:18.05] Why do you think that is? You think that's just cause they're used to it and -
CC: [00:03:20.02] their routine. It just sparks something different in their brain to see somebody outside - even though they've heard it here, that resonates and then they hear it differently and they take it more seriously.
I: [00:03:34.10] What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher?
CC: [00:03:42.29] I hoped to be a good example of someone who comes from an area that doesn't properly support one to be successful but being able to be somebody to show how it can happen, what it looks like when it does happen.
I: [00:04:03.17] Have you seen this happen in your experience so far here?
CC: [00:04:07.00] Hmmm.
I: [00:04:09.19] What's your main goal as a teacher?
CC: [00:04:13.08] I hope that students have a vision for themselves and their future. That they don't limit themselves. That they have big aspirations that they are clear about pathways to reach those aspirations.
I: [00:04:33.23] Do you use art in your classroom?
CC: [00:04:38.29] To some extent, yes.
I: [00:04:42.15] How would you say you use it?
CC: [00:04:45.05] One of the programs we run together is an intervention program. We draw upon all types of art. An easy example to go with is we're participating in a Kwanza event and we're doing spoken word, dance, song and possibly literally art. That one hasn't been committed to yet as connecting to the principals of Kwanza. Before that we've worked with them and talked about how people have labels and categories for themselves and how they express that in art.
I: [00:05:26.14] What do you see as being the role of arts in educating young people?
CC: [00:05:32.12] I think it's essential for them to have a holistic education experience.
I: [00:05:38.07] And just having a creative outlet to be able to connect.
CC: [00:05:44.17] And it helps them engage in the entire learning process.
I: [00:05:49.22] One more question. Do you feel like kids are getting the all-around education to prepare them for adulthood?
CC: [00:05:58.25] Yes and no.
I: [00:06:02.13] What are some of the ways that you think it could help them?
CC: [00:06:04.26] There are opportunities. It's just not required that every student latch on to every student which wouldn't make sense anyway. Some students get left behind. Some students aren't aware of certain opportunities. some need more encouragement to take advantage of opportunities than others. There are resources available. It's motivating and informing enough students and encouraging them to follow through with opportunities that they really identify with. That could use some help.
I: [00:06:38.08] And just out of curiosity, how long have you been here for?
CC: [00:06:40.27] At this particular school? It's my third year.
I: [00:06:43.18] OK. You like it so far? They're taking care of you?
CC: [00:06:44.25] Hmmm, yeah (laughter).
I: [00:06:46.13] OK, that concludes the questions.
CC: [00:06:50.12] OK, thank you.
I: [00:06:51.11] Appreciate your time.
CC: [00:06:52.08] No worries.
I: [00:06:53.00] And I guess we could go with you, huh? Alright, cool.
Interviewee: Donna Edwards-White, Science Teacher
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:02.17] What is your name?
DW: [00:00:03.04] Ms. Edwards-White.
I: [00:00:04.18] It's nice to meet you. Thank you for joining us for our arts and creativity for the love of school and a better future campaign. We're working with leaders from around the county to create a plan for bringing arts and creativity to all students at all schools every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can make a plan that really works for you and your school. Can we ask you a few questions?
DW: [00:00:32.18] Of course.
I: [00:00:33.29] What makes you want to go to school every day?
DW: [00:00:38.12] No comment. Next. (laughter) I think just the interactions with my students and the challenges I have every day make me wanna come and see what's gonna happen.
I: [00:00:52.21] It's always an adventure.
DW: [00:00:54.24] Every day is an adventure as a teacher. It's kind of cool that way.
I: [00:00:59.07] What does creativity mean to you?
DW: [00:01:02.19] I think creativity is being able to imagine or think or have an idea that you can communicate that with other people. And that's any way, any means possible. Either by what I call conventional art like painting, drawing or maybe performing art or digital arts. Any idea or inspiration that you might have that you can put down or put to a way that communicates to people. I think that creativity. It's kind of vague, but.
I: [00:01:48.11] What do you think ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?
DW:[00:01:55.13] For me, it could be a good quote. It could be something a student might say. Something a student might wear. Sometimes my students are very creative and I'm just like that's great. Sometimes it gets me angry which also makes me want to create or move in a direction because I'm angry about it. It's not necessarily always positive. Sometimes you hear something negative and it makes you wanna react too.
I: [00:02:21.26] What do you think ignites your students creativity, imagination and passion?
DW: [00:02:27.04] I have no idea. It's interesting you should ask me that cause I've given a lot of thought to that and I want to find ways for students to do work that they think is meaningful. I've been having this discussion with students like what would meaningful work look like? What are ways that we can get our content, yet still feel like we’re doing something meaningful? Rather than it's another worksheet. A lot of times you're in school and you're like OK I'm gonna do this assignment cause I have to do it and I want my grade. But, really I want students to feel more that what you're doing really is doing something or moving you along or you're feeling like the work is good and worthwhile. I think that's what ignites them to be creative. If they feel it's worthwhile.
I: [00:03:12.01] What can your school do to better inspire your creativity?
DW: [00:03:17.27] I would love it if the school could give teachers time for us to do projects with kids. We do it with them and we create things together. Ideas maybe would be solving community problems or looking at ways that we, as a class or as a group of students, with the teacher too doing it also, could solve problems. Or find ways to maybe go to an elementary school and do music with them or something. Something that's more interactive with students on many levels and with teachers too doing it with them. I wish they would give us more time to kind of flush those things out and find ways to do that with kids.
I: [00:04:03.18] You believe that that would inspire your creativity and your students’ creativity?
DW: [00:04:10.07] I hope so, yes. I think if students could do something that they chose to do it would be creative in ways I couldn't imagine. Cause they have this capability of - everyone has their own way of thinking. But I think students could really go oh, we could do this and that, we could do this. I think they would find ways to be more creative than I could even hope they would.
I: [00:04:34.19] What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher? And were you able to achieve this with your students?
DW: [00:04:43.04] I'm just laughing because my mother was a teacher and I never ever wanted to be a teacher. I absolutely didn't want to be a teacher and look at me now. So I had another career before teaching and when I decided to leave that career I asked a lot of people what they thought would be a good job. I asked nurses. I asked lab technicians. I just knew a bunch of people who were teachers and asked them. And by far, all the teachers were positive about what they did and they were like, oh yeah. I asked every single person if you didn't do this job, what would you do instead? And every person who answered, all the teachers were like, I wouldn't do anything else. There's nothing else I want to do, except for this. They said despite the bad pay and despite the hard hours and despite the drama that you deal with kids, there's those moments when someone just goes, oh and they get it. And that's what you live for. Those moments when kids just really get it and are just like, I get it. I thought about that and I liked that idea that I could bring - I'm a science teacher so I could bring science in a way that wasn't so hard that kids couldn't understand it. I still have kids that come in my class first day of class and say "I'm gonna fail your class". Cause they don't like science that much. My goal always has been to make it so that it's attainable for them. And they feel like yeah, I can understand this, I'm not gonna be a great scientist. They don't have to go into science but just that they're neutral to science and that they're open to it is really my goal. And I work for that every day pretty much.
I: [00:06:14.10] I can understand that.
DW: [00:06:15.08] You get it. You've been in science classes where it's been so horrifyingly boring.
I: [00:06:18.23] That's how I was with biology at first. I always was like ugh, I don't like science, I don't like doing it cause I'm more into English. Once you get into it, it's fun. There's a lot of stuff with science that you can learn to like. What's your main goal as a teacher?
DW: [00:06:40.26] My main goal as a teacher is to help students think about what they can do in life and give them the skills to do it. Whether they know that right now or not. Cause sometimes you’re getting skills and you don't realize it. I want to help them go where they want to go. They all have dreams and aspirations and so even if I don't know what those are, every students needs to learn to be punctual, learn to turn things in. Some of that stuff is tedious and some other things are just sort of imaginative. Imagine if you could go to space, what would happen? To try to get them to think about bigger things than them.
I: [00:07:20.00] Do you use arts in your classroom? And if so, how?
DW: [00:07:26.22] Look around. Yeah, I do a lot of arts for a science teacher. I think it's scientifically proven that the best educated people are the ones who have a fully rounded brain and a full feeling for lots of skills. I think that art is one skill that's essential for humans to be able to picture what you have in your head and create it somehow tangibly for other people to see. I think that's a huge kind of thing that people as humans, we always strive to do. I feel like if a person doesn't take art or is not able to explore that creative side then there's something missing for them. Even as a scientist I believe that students need a lot of ways to express how they feel and art is a great way to do it. I have kids all the time who say "I'm not good in art". I'm like, that's OK cause I don't grade your art, it's not art class, I grade your effort. So we draw a lot of things. Sometimes we do note taking through drawing. They create posters. I give them a challenge and they have to meet the challenge. I'm looking at doing more of that because I think many students really like that and they feel like they have a bigger say in the outcome because they're doing the creating. I also think for the future we need students that are just crazy good at solving problems. Because the problems that are gonna be for your generation are huge and complex. I think you have to be able to feel that you can tackle them, look at how they are and think too creatively how to solve them. I think if you don't have even a little creative outlet, you're stuck. I really am very pleased to work at a school that is very art oriented. We have a really great art program. And be able to do a lot of art in my class and a lot of hands on creativity. I just think it's essential.
I: [00:09:28.15] Yeah. Definitely. What do you see as being the role of arts in educating young people? With what you said, you said that art gives students more freedom with the outcome of their projects or work. What do you think the role of that in educating does for them?
DW: [00:09:58.12] I think it's essential. I think that a person isn't educated if they can't express their feelings and their ideas. There's lots of ways to do that expression and I have students that they may that good in science but they're a wicked violin player or something. They're really into music or they're into beats or they're into skateboarding can be considered an art form, right? Like a form of dance. I think that there's a million ways that students can express what they know. But I think a lot of times classical school - serious school, doesn't let you do that. I think science probably is on the end of the spectrum where you don't get to do that. Where it's like you give a question, give an answer. I think that doesn't serve students to really embrace what science is all about. So I really look for ways for them to be creative. I think it's important especially for young people as they're kind of developing themselves and kind of how they are as a person, they need to have that creative outlet. Cause that's part of what every human is. Every human has the ability to do some kind of creating, right? I feel like if we don't help students have opportunities to do that, they’re lacking. They can't compete with other students ln ways like problem solving, for one thing. For being resilient, like if you go on a job interview and how can you make yourself stand out if you can’t be creative. I feel like part of it's just essential. I also know that I think teachers that just give students book work are not - students don't thrive with them because they're not able to - it's just so much like a formula. One day, one day, one day, that they just check out of that kind of -
I: [00:11:47.25] It gets boring.
DW: [00:11:48.27] it gets boring. It gets boring pretty quickly. And I think once it starts getting boring than students check out. I think if you let them do it in their own way that it’s much more interesting to them. I think they learn it much more deeply.
I: [00:12:02.26] yeah, definitely. Well, thank you for allowing us to interview you. This was great. It was lovely meeting you.
DW: [00:12:12.12] Nice to meet you too. Thank you.
I: [00:12:15.25] And that's it.
(background noise, chit chat)
DW: [00:12:41.20] I would love if you find some way to bring arts to students every day.
I: [00:12:46.01] That's what we shoot for.
DW: [00:12:47.23] That's a huge task.
I: [00:12:53.13] As an artistic person, my whole life is surrounded by arts. Since I was a kid my mom has had me in dance, choir, plays. My whole life was surrounded by the arts and so at this age it's what I'm really good at. Also, on a side note, I like to write and I like to do stories and I'm very imaginative. I always try to incorporate that with school so that it helps me get through it. I'm not the best drawing person but as far as - I always try to mix it with what I do. It always makes it easier. That's what helped me with biology, actually, was when we took notes I took notes in a special way so that I could remember them. I have my own special little code names for everything. It's different forms of art that helps us remember things. Especially when it's more in our way of thinking than it's always easier to remember. Like, we're not gonna remember the square root of like -
(interview transcript cuts off)
Interviewee: Evelin Barron, student (Senior)
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:03.08] Hi. My name's Alexa. And you name is?
E: [00:00:06.28] Evelin Barron.
I: [00:00:08.23] Nice to meet you. We're going to be asking you some questions for the arts and creativity for the love of school and a better future campaign. What makes you want to go to school every day?
E: [00:00:26.20] I guess my parents. My parents make me come to school every day. They don't make me but they encourage me to come to school every day cause they want a future for me and so do I. I think education is the key to a have a better life.
I: [00:00:51.15] sounds good. What do you think would make you wanna attend school more? What would make school more fun for you?
E: [00:01:01.07] I think making some of the stuff from school new. Some of the books. Maybe fixing the school. (conversing with Alexa about a certain word). Make it more modern.
I: [00:01:40.19] sounds good. When I say "the arts" what comes to mind?
E: [00:01:49.26] Creativity. Artists. Color.
I: [00:02:00.18] What does creativity mean to you?
E: [00:02:04.27] That's a tough question. I think creativity is something that you can express your feelings. Your imagination. Something that an individual only could come up with.
I: [00:02:23.19] Does your school include arts education?
E: [00:02:31.24] Yes. I think so. We're big on arts education. We do. We have this room and we have 3-D art. We have different way of arts.
I: [00:02:51.22] Do you think you're getting the most out of your education here?
E: [00:02:59.11] No. I think there's things that I feel like I need to have better education. Yes and no. It can be yes and then no. I don't know how to explain it very well. I don't think I'm having - but I do at the same time, you know what I mean?
I: [00:03:27.25] That's the thing with school, we always feel like we don't know enough but at the same time we know a lot.
E: [00:03:32.19] Yeah. I don't know how to put that in my own words. That's a tough one.
I: [00:03:40.07] Back to creativity. What do you think ignites your creativity, your imagination and passion?
E: [00:03:51.23] I think things that really hit me in a deep level like someone's death or the way my mom loves me. I don't know. Something really deep that happend to me. I feel like I wanna express it in the way only I could understand it but I wanna show people that sometimes. I think that's what makes me want to be creative.
I: [00:04:26.19] So, deep levels, deep emotion. That's the word. What do you think your school can do to inspire more creativity for you?
E: [00:04:43.08] Including the students or the kids in projects that would make them feel like they're free to have - yeah, I don't want to use creativity but yeah to use your imagination to work together to show hands on projects. I think that would help a lot.
I: [00:05:09.09] Do you feel that you're getting the education you need to prepare for adulthood?
E: [00:05:22.26] No. There's a lot of things that I don't think I need for adulthood. There's math that I don't believe I need it. There's some English stuff that I think they're really not useful. I don't think so.
I: [00:05:50.17] Do you think there's any way that the school here can help you more with becoming an adult? Any classes that you think would help?
E: [00:06:00.11] I think school really - the only thing that school is - they teach you how to follow stuff. They don't really teach you how to self-think. When you get out of high school, you don't really know what to do because you have learned to copy and to follow rules that you don't really know what to do. I feel like if they gave you classes to really have skills that would help you later that would be good.
I: [00:06:36.23] Thank you for joining us for this interview.
E: [00:06:39.08] Thank you for having me. Sorry I couldn't answer your questions in a better way.
I: [00:06:47.14] No, you did great. That was fantastic.
Interviewee: Geoff Landreau, Art Teacher
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:00.09] Hi. What is your name?
GL: [00:00:02.26] Hi. My name is Geoff Landreau.
I: [00:00:04.20] What do you teach?
GL: [00:00:06.21] I teach 3-D Design which is a sculpture class, advanced 3-D Design and AP 3-D Design which is a college prep 3-D design class.
I: [00:00:16.17] What makes you want to go to school every day?
GL: [00:00:22.14] I love my job. I have a great space. I have great students. I enjoy doing sculpture. I think if you like what you do, you get up every morning. It's just part of what you do.
I: [00:00:38.16] What is creativity mean to you?
GL: [00:00:40.24] Creativity. Creativity is the opportunity to express yourself in many different ways. I think that it's the ability to think, expand your mind, try different things. Not be afraid maybe. Try something new. Sometimes just take a risk and not always play it safe.
I: [00:01:10.25] What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?
GL: [00:01:22.28] What ignites my creativity? I don't know. I think I'm just a visual person. I see things creatively in what I do. I think just life. (laughter) Life ignites me. I don't know. Everything is creativity for me. Music, dance, art. Just try to get involved and do something.
I: [00:01:52.14] What ignites your students’ creativity, imagination and passion?
GL: [00:01:57.17] The nice thing about have a classroom setting is the students feed off of one another. If you plant a seed, all of a sudden you see what everyone else is doing. All of a sudden that creates interest. There's a level of competiveness. We have a functioning student art gallery. We do five shows a year so the students want to get their piece in that art show. There's a competitive nature among the kids to try to see like, hey I wanna do a better project than yours or more interesting. And try to get other people interested in their work. It feeds off of each other.
I: [00:02:33.05] What can your school do to better inspire your creativity?
GL: [00:02:40.07] I think almost less restrictions. Let the teachers figure out what they wanna do. Let the structure be developed by the teachers. Support your teachers. Keep the class sizes small. Give them the materials and tools they need to do what they gotta do. And not put too many rules and restrictions on what they do.
I: [00:03:04.08] What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher and were you able to achieve this with your students?
GL: [00:03:20.16] I didn't really set out to be a teacher. I never thought I would be a teacher. I went to art school. I went to school, I studied art. I got my degree. And then, the bill came and I had to find a job quick. I was working in restaurants and things and then a friend of mine said, "hey, you could sub teach". I tried it out. I'm kind of a people person so I kind of get along with people. I realized pretty quickly that I was pretty good at teaching cause I just knew how to interact with people and treat them like human beings. That's a lot of what teaching is, is just interacting with people and talking to them and hearing what they need, holding them to a high standard. But, also humanizing it is important.
I: [00:04:10.18] What's your main goal as a teacher?
GL: [00:04:12.06] My main goal as a teacher is to have everyone achieve, everyone succeed. I try to get every kid, no matter where they are, move them from, if they're on the lowest level, move them up one level. If they're really high achieving, see what I can get them to push them up to the next level. There's always room for growth. Everybody, always.
I: [00:04:36.07] How do you use art in your classroom?
GL: [00:04:38.12] Every day, all the time. I teach art. We just do art all the time. We draw. We sculpt. We do things in clay. We do things in wood. We do paper mache. We do wire sculptures. Mixed media. We find old things and remake them. All kinds of stuff.
I: [00:04:57.24] What do you see as being the role of art in educating young people?
GL: [00:05:04.24] I think the arts should be the center piece and everything else should revolve around that. If you look at any civilization, you study ancient civilization, what's the first thing you study? Their art, right? You look at these sculptures they made, the paintings, these are the music they had. This is the center piece of our culture. Why is this second hand? Why is art an afterthought? Art should be the focal point. We build all the other skills around your arts and I think we'd build a lot of success that way.
I: [00:05:41.29] Thank you so much. That's the end of our interview.
Interviewee: Gery Ghislaine, French teacher
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:03.02] Can you please state your name?
GG: [00:00:03.24] Gery Ghislaine.
I: [00:00:05.12] Can you spell it?
GG: [00:00:05.29] G-e-r-y.
I: [00:00:13.09] My name is Ania. I am a junior at San Lorenzo High School. We are working with leaders from around the county to create a plan for bringing arts and creativity to all students at all school every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can make a plan that really works for you and your school. Can we ask you a few questions?
GG: [00:00:36.23] yes.
I: [00:00:37.16] What makes you go to school every day?
GG: [00:00:42.19] I love teaching. I love colors. I teach French. And teaching French with art is a really great idea because you can teach vocabulary with colors concept. I also use, as you see in my classroom, a lot of colored cards because a new language is difficult and when I am stimulated with colors then because we are very visual learners, every human being, we think more.
I: [00:01:42.22] What does creativity mean to you?
GG: [00:01:46.22] Creativity means that you can tap into something that is very special to you, to one being. You can create a project and run it many different ways. It doesn't have to be necessarily writing. it could be in the form of movement. It can be in the form of design. And even if it wasn't that form of art, there's a way of creating that piece of art. It could be with music. It could be with any media. I believe that when the body move, the body learn better than being still.
I: [00:02:44.08] What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?
GG: [00:02:48.15] I love art. I love colors. I want to bring that to my students. I think I'm a very creative person just in general. I like to do things with my hands. When I can show my students what I can do that sparks all those ideas for them to create their own things.
I: [00:03:25.00] What ignites your students’ creativity, imagination and passion?
GG: [00:03:28.09] I think working in groups and not being afraid to just do whatever comes will bring satisfaction to student that maybe they didn't know they were good at different, certain things. Because by practicing and trying then you might realize you have a talent for a particular area.
I: [00:04:03.07] What can your school do to better inspire you creativity?
GG: [00:04:08.03] We are bound with curriculum but I feel that even though we can follow curriculum in bringing into the classroom. The thing that would work better for me in a school setting would be very large classroom where I can have desk and my students can be at desks but I could have a lot of other spaces where we can be doing movement and working on the floor and painting on the floor and doing other things. that would make it more easier to create. Moving from a desk to another area where when you have thirty-six students in a small classroom, it's very, very hard to do.
I: [00:05:14.00] What can you're school do to better inspire your students’ creativity?
GG: [00:05:18.22] I think that Mt. Eden High School is doing great with the art and the music department and the art department. a lot of students are doing those classes and doing incredible performance or music. I am very, very lucky because I have a smart TV and so I can do a lot of media and music through my classroom. But, I think every teacher should have that.
I: [00:06:05.21] You're the only teacher that has one?
GG: [00:06:08.13] In the language department, I think it's only five teachers out of seven teachers that has a smart TV.
I: [00:06:24.27] What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher?
GG: [00:06:32.19] I want my students to have the passion to know French and to read French. I have created actually a technique how to read French very quickly by sound and colors. If you want to see it I have it over there, I can show you. My idea is to even if it's not to continue French for many, many years, only do one or two years, they can at least leave the high school and be able to pronounce every word in French and count.
I: [00:07:21.03] Were you able to achieve this with your students?
GG: [00:07:24.14] Yes. In the past, yes. I'm a new teacher here at Mt. Eden High School, and I have spent a good part of this semester to teach my student how to read. They didn't know how to pronounce word and they didn't know how to read. Now, I can give them a small text or new book ??? and I don't have to teach them how to read it. So, they have the basic.
I: [00:07:59.11] What's your main goal as a teacher?
GG: [00:08:02.19] It's many different facets. It's not just giving grade to my student. It's showing the passion of the language. Sparkle the curiosity of maybe by learning a new language to be able to go to different country. Also, emotionally to create a very special space in my classroom where student feel safe.
I: [00:08:44.06] Do you or how do you use art in your classroom?
GG: [00:08:47.27] I use art in my classroom even those who are not done by me, I do the same kinds of things. With the Impressionist I bring the culture of France into the classrooms with the Impressionists and too many painters in the world. I also do architect drawing of monument in Paris so then that my student know another way to look at architecture and monuments that are done differently in the United States. I don't have a sample here, too bad. I also bring the way how to direct oneself into the city of Paris. We draw the entire city of Paris and we do it with little monument and then we pretend to take the Subway. And we go from one monument to another. And that gives sense of direction and sense of ???.
I: [00:10:07.29] What do you see as being the role of arts in educating young people?
GG: [00:10:12.29] I think art is a very important factor because it brings creativity. It bring a sense of joy. The more creative one can be the more joy one can have.
I: [00:10:35.29] What sparked your interest in art?
GG: [00:10:39.08] I love doing things with my hands so I do woodworking, I do weaving, I do (laughter) I do a lot of things, I do painting. For me, it's this kind of media is just giving me better knowledge of everything in the world through that media and a sense of belonging. It would bring me something I think something very strong in me because if I do it over and over and over then I get better at a particular media than I do. I have again a sense of peace and joy (background noises). So, a lot of peace comes from it.
I: [00:11:43.19] That's all the questions I have for you today. It was very nice to meet you.
GG: [00:11:47.07] Thank you. Would you like to see those cards?
Interviewee: Jennifer Salgado, student (freshman)
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:00.24] Can you please say your name and spell it out?
JS: [00:00:11.16] My first name? Jennifer Salgado. J-e-n-n-i-f-e-r S-a-l-g-a-d-o.
I: [00:00:21.26] We are working with leaders from around the country to create a plan for bringing arts and creativity to all students at all schools every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can make a plan that really works for you and your school. Can we you a few questions?
JS: [00:00:39.13] Hmm.
I: [00:00:40.18] What makes you want to want to come to school every day?
JS: [00:00:43.15] Knowing that I can learn something new.
I: [00:00:50.09] Can you explain more?
JS: [00:00:51.19] The teachers are really fun and none of them really seem boring.
I: [00:00:59.10] When I say "the arts" what comes to mind?
JS: [00:01:03.09] Drawing, painting, sculpting are things.
I: [00:01:11.00] Do you do any of these things in school, in after school or weekend programs, or at home?
JS: [00:01:18.10] I do them more at home and after school. But, it's not really part of the actual school.
I: [00:01:26.12] What kind of art do you do?
JS: [00:01:28.04] I usually draw.
I: [00:01:31.18] What do you think of when I say "arts education"?
JS: [00:01:35.11] I think of Mr. Landreau.
I: [00:01:41.15] Can you explain? Is he your art teacher?
JS: [00:01:45.00] I don't have an art teacher at the moment. He's the one who taught me how to make a pot here.
I: [00:01:56.27] Does your school include arts education?
JS: [00:02:00.10] It does.
I: [00:02:02.06] What does creativity mean to you?
JS: [00:02:04.14] You can figure out something out of nothing. Make something really, really strange but it has all these things that you don't normally see.
I: [00:02:20.20] Can you describe something?
JS: [00:02:23.22] Like a Camaro, I guess. Where you put different things together and you get something crazy but it's still creative.
I: [00:02:35.19] What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?
JS: [00:02:42.16] Music.
I: [00:02:45.19] Is it the way the music makes you feel or?
JS: [00:02:48.23] The lyrics and how the music makes you feel too.
I: [00:02:52.12] What can your school do to inspire your creativity?
JS: [00:02:58.15] They're already doing a really good job at it.
I: [00:03:05.11] What do you think the school is doing to keep your creativity going?
JS: [00:03:09.08] Have interesting teachers with unique stories and that they makes think of a character or makes me think of a picture.
I: [00:03:20.27] Do you think you're getting the most out of your education?
JS: [00:03:26.07] Hmm.
I: [00:03:28.11] Do you believe you are in a safe learning community?
JS: [00:03:33.22] Yes, I do.
I: [00:03:40.13] What opportunities are opening up for you from your education?
JS: [00:03:44.00] The ability to actually go to college and go to a good one.
I: [00:03:50.11] What would you think of as a good college?
JS: [00:03:52.26] Something that has what I'm aiming to be. In this case, it's an animator. It would be something that would teach me to draw but shorten the time of drawing and finding shortcuts.
I: [00:04:11.29] What made that happen?
JS: [00:04:16.29] It was just seeing these amazing drawings in real life, digital, just these amazing drawings. That made me think, hey.
I: [00:04:25.15] What contributed to your future opening up from the education?
JS: [00:04:31.10] Every teacher, I guess. They all have a part in it.
I: [00:04:38.20] Do you think your teachers help you succeed?
JS: [00:04:41.03] Yes, they do.
I: [00:04:43.13] How do you think they help you succeed?
JS: [00:04:46.24] Every day they teach me a part of that subject and out of those subject comes a memory or just a picture or something.
I: [00:04:57.16] Is school relevant to what you want out of life?
JS: [00:04:59.24] It is.
I: [00:05:01.15] What do you want out of life?
JS: [00:05:03.09] I want happiness. That's really what matters.
I: [00:05:10.14] How can school help you achieve that?
JS: [00:05:12.21] It helps me meet new people. It also helps me, like I said, go to college and that is one of my goals.
I: [00:05:24.29] Do you feel like you are getting the education you need to prepare you for adulthood?
JS: [00:05:29.10] Yes.
I: [00:05:30.15] How so?
JS: [00:05:32.27] In adulthood you work and that means you have to socialize. I'm not a very social person, I'll say that.
I: [00:05:43.18] Alright, thank you. That concludes our interview.
JS: [00:05:47.26] Thank you too.
Interviewee: Jessie Giang, student (Senior)
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:06.22] Can you spell it?
JG: [00:00:08.04] J-e-s-s-i-e and then G-i-a-n-g.
I: [00:00:12.00] Thank you. And your grade?
JG: [00:00:13.01] I am in twelfth grade.
I: [00:00:14.08] We are working with leaders from around the county to create a plan for bringing arts and creativity to all students at all schools every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can a make a plan that really works for you and your school. Can we ask you a few questions?
JG: [00:00:31.09] sure.
I: [00:00:32.12] My name is Ania. I'm junior at San Lorenzo. What makes you go to school every day?
JG: [00:00:39.03] I guess, my passion and my dreams.
I: [00:00:43.13] What's your dream?
JG: [00:00:44.10] To become an animator.
I: [00:00:47.00] An animator? If you weren't to go to school every day what would help you attend school?
JG: [00:00:55.01] Probably to be with my friends.
I: [00:01:01.12] When I say "the arts" what comes to mind?
JG: [00:01:04.03] Museums of art pieces, paintings and ???
I: [00:01:11.18] Do you do any of these things at school?
JG: [00:01:15.04] Yeah. I take a class, AP Studio Art. I would paint and draw every day.
I: [00:01:21.09] Do you do any of things outside of school or at home?
JG: [00:01:23.03] Yeah.
I: [00:01:24.09] Yeah, you're in a special program for art?
JG: [00:01:27.02] Not really. I love to do arts and crafts.
I: [00:01:57.09] OK. Does your school include arts education?
JG: [00:02:01.00] If the art classes count as art education then, yes.
I: [00:02:06.08] What is creativity mean to you?
JG: [00:02:09.06] Creativity to me is the ability to think outside of the box than to follow the rules ???
I: [00:02:19.05] What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?
JG: [00:02:22.13] I'm not actually sure. It's just when I think of something and then something comes to mind, an idea pops up. I guess you would call that inspiration.
I: [00:02:34.17] What can your school do to inspire your creativity?
JG: [00:02:41.19] What do you mean by that?
I: [00:02:45.11] Since you want to be an animator, is there any way your school could help you more than what they're doing right now?
JG: [00:02:51.01] I guess we can create computer art designing program. We can learn those things in a class or in a peer room.
I: [00:03:01.04] doyou think you're getting the most out of your education?
JG: [00:03:04.14] Yes.
I: [00:03:05.10] Yeah? In what way?
JG: [00:03:07.02] To attend class. The teachers here are very helpful and they're really patient with us. I think that really helps us to strive and improve within ourselves.
I: [00:03:17.02] Do you believe you are in a safe learning community?
JG: [00:03:19.27] Safe enough.
I: [00:03:21.10] Physically and mentally? Like you're free to think what you wanna think and say what you wanna say and not feel judged for it?
JG: [00:03:28.26] Yeah.
I: [00:03:33.10] What opportunities are opening up for you from your education?
JG: [00:03:36.29] Path to college.
I: [00:03:40.08] What made that happen?
JG: [00:03:41.03] Financial aid (laughter). A lot of other factors I guess.
I: [00:03:47.04] Who contributed to that?
JG: [00:03:51.04] the government and most likely ???
I: [00:04:18.01] Do your teachers help you succeed?
JG: [00:04:19.15] Yeah, for sure.
I: [00:04:21.25] Do they give extra help for you after school ???
JG: [00:04:26.21] If we ask them nicely they most likely would help us, probably.
I: [00:04:31.06] Is school relevant to you what you want out of life?
JG: [00:04:35.16] I guess you can say that. I've been going to school for the longest time like everyone else so it's kind of become the norm.
I: [00:04:44.24] What do you want out of life?
JG: [00:04:46.20] To be satisfied.
I: [00:04:50.13] What do you think you need from school to get satisfied?
JG: [00:04:52.28] I guess education so I wouldn't be ignorant and oblivious to the world and to be ???
I: [00:05:04.06] do you feel like you're getting the education you need to prepare yourself for adulthood?
JG: [00:05:09.22] Sometimes I question that. Sometimes we need to learn how to manage our financial issues and how to apply for apartments. But, other than that I think our education is alright.
I: [00:05:23.20] That concludes our questions here. Can you say your name one more time?
JG: [00:05:28.16] My name is Jessica Giang.
I: [00:05:30.28] Thank you.
Interviewee: Leona Wong, Science teacher
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:05.17] Just for the record, can you state your first and last name and spell it, please?
LW: [00:00:11.21] My name is Leona Wong. It's L-e-o-n-a and W-o-n-g.
I: [00:00:16.23] Cool. We're working with leaders from around the county to bringing arts and creativity to all students at all schools every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can make a plan that really works for you and your school. Can we ask you a few questions?
LW: [00:00:31.20] Sure.
I: [00:00:32.18] What makes you go to school every day?
LW: [00:00:36.04] the fact that I could maybe make a difference in students' lives that I reach.
I: [00:00:41.15] When I say "the arts" what comes to mind?
LW: [00:00:46.11] I myself I like to paint so I like to imagine creative arts.
I: [00:00:52.11] What does creativity mean to you?
LW: [00:00:55.07] Creativity means to me, what it is, is basically being able to come up with innovation solutions or come up with interesting ways of solving problems. I think that's creative.
I: [00:01:08.09] What ignites your creativity?
LW: [00:01:10.27] For me, since I'm a science teacher, I really love the sciences so it really allows me to connect the art and sciences together in a way, kind of.
I: [00:01:20.19] What ignites your passion?
LW: [00:01:27.23] Definitely science. I really want to reach out to my students and be able to teach them the ways of thinking scientifically and kind of looking at the world in a way more logically.
I: [00:01:37.13] What do you think ignites your student's creativity and passion?
LW: [00:01:42.24] Definitely things that are relevant to their lives whether it be entertainment or whether it be what their philosophy in life is. If you can reach out to students and really just speak to them and ask them "what's up?" then I think it could be able to reach out to your students more.
I: [00:01:58.17] What can your school do better to help inspire your creativity?
LW: [00:02:06.16] I think if the school actually asked the teachers what they think would help in their classrooms or how they could incorporate more art into their own curriculum. Support would be good.
I: [00:02:17.25] What do you think your school could do to help inspire your students creativity?
LW: [00:02:23.13] I think currently the school does a pretty good job with the arts program and the music program. If they could maybe extend out to the general population that doesn't really have those classes then that'd be great. have them get involved.
I: [00:02:37.10] This kind of has to do with the first one but, what did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher?
LW: [00:02:45.22] When I became a teacher I wanted to help society become more scientifically literate.
I: [00:02:52.03] Have you seen any of this come into fruition?
LW: [00:02:56.17] In the seven years that I've taught students, there were a few that have told me that they hated science in the beginning and they ended up actually liking it or being OK with science at the end. For me, that's a little bit of a success.
I: [00:03:09.18] Good. What is your main goal as a teacher?
LW: [00:03:14.08] Definitely to reach out to as many students as I could.
I: [00:03:19.20] Do you use arts in your classroom?
LW: [00:03:22.00] I use arts in forms of models and ice breaker activities. I definitely have my students draw a lot. Art is very involved in science I believe.
I: [00:03:33.22] Good. What do you see as being the role of arts in educating young people?
LW: [00:03:42.17] I think, honestly, art connects everything together. Whether it be English or history or science, I think the abstractness of art really allows you can do anything with it. You can definitely imbed it into any of your classes.
I: [00:03:57.21] That's good to hear cause I'm a artist myself. When you're artist you kind of keep yourself in the art world. But, when it comes to mixing different things and seeing how it connects with stuff that you wouldn't normally see next to art, for example, science. And how they connect and how they could feed off of each other is really cool.
LW: [00:04:19.09] I think so. I think one of the problems - when I was in college I took this scientific course and my senior year I took one art class and it was the best time of my life. It was so much fun. I kind of thought that I maybe went into the wrong major but I actually like knowing science and being able to incorporate art and kind of put them together. I like doing that.
I: [00:04:40.29] That's good. One more question I have - do you feel like these kids are getting the right education for adulthood?
LW: [00:04:48.28] I think sometimes during school they focus on things that actually don't really matter outside. I think that we gotta figure out what's really needed to be a successful adult in the future. Have students learn a little bit more in that sense like economic sense, personal responsibility and common sense.
I: [00:05:11.02] Definitely. Cool, alright. well, that concludes our interview for today. Thank you very much. We really appreciate your time.
LW: [00:05:17.25] Thank you.
I: [00:05:18.18] and you said you've been here for about?
LW: [00:05:20.14] Seven years.
I: [00:05:20.23] seven years. It's been a pretty good overall experience?
LW: [00:05:23.19] I would say so.
Interviewee: Lilibeth Anaya, student (Junior)
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:23.09] We are working with different from around the county to create a plan for bringing arts and creativity to students in schools every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can create a plan that really works for you and your school. Can I ask you a couple questions?
LA: [00:00:51.04] alright.
I: [00:00:51.27] Can you please stat your name and spell it for me, please? Your full name.
LA: [00:00:56.11] My name is Lilibeth Anaya. It is spelled L-i-l-i-b-e-t-h. Last name as well? My last name is Anaya, A-n-a-y-a.
I: [00:01:06.00] Thank you. What makes you wanna go to school every single day?
LA: [00:01:11.12] For me, even though this interview is about art, for me it's truly the arts. This is my first year in the art program at school cause my schedule was always really full with other classes. But, honestly, art calms me down. It allows me to relax. Though you have the stress of deadlines and whatnot and having to get something perfected, I just love how the class is constructed for me. It amazes me what my classmates can do and what I can do. It allows my creativity to flow. I see myself as a better person with the arts. So, that's why I actually love coming to school now.
I: [00:01:48.00] OK, that's good. So you like the pressure of having to create something in a specific amount of time?
LA: [00:01:55.05] Yeah. Cause then it kind of allows me to quickly come up with something. We have projects coming up, it's like you have this due date, this due date. I got this one starting, getting it done. Start the next one. It's like the pressure allows me to force myself to something I didn't want to do. There's times when you have this but you don't wanna do it but if you have that deadline it's allowing you to put more effort into it. It's allowing you to see what you can do better than what you've done before.
I: [00:02:31.05] That's good. When I say "the arts" what comes to mind?
LA: [00:02:35.13] Honestly, peace.
I: [00:02:41.13] What do you mainly do? For you arts, are you painting?
LA: [00:02:52.16] Right now, I'm actually taking a 3-D design class. Right now we're working on a section of ceramics. So, currently we're just working on making slab boxes. I actually love that project because it's allowing me to learn better how to trace on designs onto the clay. You have to know the different types of textures and stuff like that. It's fun to do.
I: [00:03:19.22] Do you do anything in school or after school or weekend programs? What are your hobbies?
LA: [00:03:32.01] Right now I'm currently the school Art Club Secretary. usually, after school I work on projects that I have. It may not be art but it's other projects that I'm assigned to. It's allowing me to see what I can do but I also do volunteer work with younger children. My aunt's a preschool teacher and I volunteer with her sometimes. That's fun to do. It's a balance of dealing with outside world and then you have your artistic visions, in a sense.
I: [00:04:09.27] What do you think of when i say "arts education"?
LA: [00:04:14.07] Freedom.
I: [00:04:16.29] so, when you have art classes in school you feel like it's your free time, it's a break away from other stuff?
LA: [00:04:24.11] Yeah, like I mentioned before, it's like allowing for my creativity to flow. Having arts in school is a good way for kids to actually let them be themselves. There are some people that will tell your kids, you have to be this, you have to achieve that. With art, you're allowed to be who want to be and you could actually put it on something that you could love.
I: [00:04:48.19] Does your school include arts education?
LA: .[00:04:51.08] It does. It does.
I: [00:04:53.28] What does creativity mean to you?
LA: [00:04:57.26] It means allowing to be who you want to be. You have the freedom to do - You're able to express yourself in a way that anybody could or could not understand, but you already know how you want everything. You're own way of dealing with things, in a sense. I don't know if that makes sense, but, yeah.
I: [00:05:21.09] What ignites your creativity or imagination or passion?
LA: [00:05:27.29] Honestly, for me, when I do art I think about what I love. I love swimming, I'm on the varsity swim team here. My aunt, who's the preschool teacher, she's actually the one who kind of helps me ignite that imagination in me. Cause she kind of acts immature so I kind of feel like that childishness is passed onto me. When I work on certain activities I feel myself being who I wanna be.
I: [00:06:00.18] I know you're young, you're still in high school, have you found what you want to do for the rest of life, your passion?
LA: [00:06:05.13] Honestly, even though I'm a junior in high school it's still difficult to figure it out. Cause it's pressure. As it goes along - the year, it's more pressure. Honestly, I have really have no idea what to do that's why I take art.
I: [00:06:21.20] That's fine.
LA: [00:06:22.06] It allows me to be free for a while.
I: [00:06:24.07]What can your school do to inspire your creativity?
LA: [00:06:32.24] I've noticed that my school, it's really big in the arts program. We literally have this gallery up here. But, I think what could happen, I think expanding it would be better cause there's kids who try to - how do I put it? They underestimate what kids can do. Sure, we have AP Art, but once you see what anyone and everyone can do in this class it kind of blows your mind a bit. I think there should be more artwork around the school.
I: [00:07:10.23] It should be showcased more.
LA: [00:07:12.02] Showcased more rather than just up here. Though we have the murals for each class that graduates. I think it should be showcased around school.
I: [00:07:21.18] Do you think you're getting the most out of your education here?
LA: [00:07:28.01] I think I do.
I: [00:07:29.16] Why do you feel that way?
LA: [00:07:34.13] Other than the arts I do love the teachers cause they do send off a positive vibe into the classroom. ??? teachers that kids would hate or dislike in that matter. But, it's like once you get to know your teachers it's like each classroom is a small family. Each period of the day is fun to see how everything works out in one day. You have your block days and your full days but it's fun to see how everything plays out.
I: [00:08:03.27] Do you feel like you're in a safe learning community?
LA: [00:08:07.25] I do.
I: [00:08:11.03] Emotionally and physically?
LA: [00:08:15.18] Yeah.
I: [00:08:19.22] What opportunities have opened up for you from this education?
LA: [00:08:27.12] Any? Throughout the whole?
I: [00:08:29.01] Yeah. From just being in your art program, what opportunities have opened up for you?
LA: [00:08:34.12] When I started doing the art program, my aunt actually noticed how I'm more opened up. It’s kind of like when I go over to volunteer at her preschool I'm more open. There was one time where, I think it was her main person in charge, they came up to me and they were like oh, you should come on weekdays when you don't have school, help out, we want your positivity to come in help these children. They're preschoolers, they don't understand anything but if had a positive attitude they'll get somewhere. My aunt's like OK, i have no hope for these kids but once you're here everything is intact. Honestly, I kind of do wanna be an art teacher at one point. As long as I pursue something like that, it's opening up something for me.
I: [00:09:29.17] Is there a specific person that brought that out in you?
LA: [00:09:35.21] Yeah, my aunt who's the preschool teacher. Cause I mentioned before, she's really childish. I lived with her when I was younger at one point because my family was going through something and they wanted to take me out of that environment. When I lived with her - she's also an artist herself so I would help her, often destroy her projects. It was fun to see what she's able to do. She love photography, she loves paintings. Everything she did I was amazed by it.
I: [00:10:02.07] Was there any teachers that inspired you -
LA: [00:10:05.14] Yeah, my teacher that I have right now, Mr. Landreau, he's one person. He's really helpful too. He's actually inspired - teachers are one of the reason why I like school. He sends off a positive attitude. He helps when we need it most. He's a really good support system.
I: [00:10:27.29] I guess it's kind of related to what you just said, do your teachers help you succeed in all your classes?
LA: [00:10:34.20] In all my classes, most definitely. In the program called Avid and that teacher, along with Mr. Landreau, are both big supporters of what they're students do. That's what I appreciate teachers like them. My AP English is so much of that. He's very outgoing, very helpful. Teachers like them are the reason why I feel like I'm pushing myself harder. The way they structure their work allows you to hear that they do care. Most teachers would but the teachers who push you harder and you don't even realize it.
I: [00:11:08.06] Is your school relevant to what you want to do in your life? ??? the art, anything else that you're doing in school - Has something in your math class connect to something in the outside world. Or your English class help you connect to something in the outside world?
LA: [00:11:33.07] It actually has. My AP English class has actually - even though it's mostly non-fiction literature and whatnot, what you read about that happens in the real world it kind of feels like it relates to that at some point. You'll read about something and go oh, I've experienced that. You read about this and something should happen so that this wouldn't be a continuous problem. It's kind of like everything in that class allows me to ???
I:[00:12:01.00] Do you feel like art is more relevant towards your life right now?
LA: [00:12:03.28] Way relevant. At first, I thought I would never be in the art program but then I think alright, and it's like something new has been added and it kind of brings out the joy.
I: [00:12:17.16] That's great. I guess the last question, do you feel like you're getting an education to help prepare you for adulthood?
LA: [00:12:29.18] I do. Even though I do feel like I don't know what I wanna do yet, but yeah, I do have a career in mind. This education is preparing me cause there's schools where you hear the children are doing bad. I'm sure we have even students where kids do have fights but I feel like what teachers are teaching their kids, it's relevant to as what you're gonna do once you graduate and what you're gonna do in college.
I: [00:12:57.14] Do you feel like they’re teaching your beyond what you're gonna do in college? Just in life in general?
LA: [00:13:03.08] Just in life in general? Honestly, I don't really like to say. It's kind of both, it kind of is, it kind of isn’t. You don't know what to expect later on so I can't really say, know what I mean? I'm still a teenager. I don't know what to expect in the future. I just go with the flow.
I: [00:13:24.07] OK. Thank you.
LA: [00:13:26.05] Your welcome.
I: [00:13:28.08] So this is the end of the interview. Nice talking to you.
Interviewee: Marie Butler, Art Teacher
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:01.21] My name is Ania I'm a junior at San Lorenzo High School. And you are?
MB: [00:00:06.05] My name is Mrs. Butler. I work here at Mt. Eden High School.
I: [00:00:10.11] Can you please spell your name?
MB: [00:00:11.04] The full name? Ms. B-u-t-l-e-r.
I: [00:00:20.06] We are working with leaders from around the county for making a plan for bringing arts and creativity to all students at all schools every day across Alameda County. We would love to hear your thought and experiences so we can make a plan that really works for you and your school. Can we ask you a few questions?
MB: [00:00:36.16] Yeah, of course.
I: [00:00:37.22] What makes you go to school every day?
MB: [00:00:40.01] I kind of an awesome job because I get to spend eight hours a day or more really, working with my students and making art. Those are kind of great. (laughter)
I: [00:00:54.20] What does creativity mean to you?
MB: [00:00:57.02] Creativity is being able to take ideas that you don't necessarily encounter often and find solutions to various problems. It's critical thinking in the rawest form, I think.
I: [00:01:15.18] What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?
MB: [00:01:21.20] That is a great question. I like to think that collaborating with others. I think as an art teacher working in a studio space with student artists or other artists in general is very helpful to the creative process because I may come at a problem from one point of view but then I have a room full of thirty-two other minds that are working on the same problem. and everybody has a little bit of a different way to do it. So I can give a demonstration and show students and I'm always telling them this is only one way to do it and how I've figured out how to solve this problem, like we're building a box, this is how I'm going to do it. But, there's always another route. That's one of the beautiful things about teaching art and making art, you have multiple avenues to, not necessarily the same, but a similar product. And I always like to see what different students do and how they kind of traverse that path to get to that end point. I learn a lot during that course.
I: [00:02:26.01] What ignites your students' creativity, imagination and passion?
MB: [00:02:30.20] You know, it just depends on the student. I like to think that I can show them what I do and I can show them what students before them have done in the classroom and that catches their eye. Relating back to things that interest things like popular culture. I like to always bring up, especially this year, politics, and be like, hey. Currently we're working on a project where they're supposed to create a visual metaphor that relative to them. So, something that connects back to their identity. I told them this could be about your culture. This could be your position on what's happening in politics today. This could be really anything that resonates with you strongly. I try to encourage my students to go deeper into the creative process and do less work that's surface level. They're all very capable of creating beautiful things but it's a totally different level of art to create something beautiful that also has a deep meaning that's gonna make the viewer step and take a pause. That's what I'm working on with them. Did I answer the whole question?
I: [00:03:40.13] Yeah. What can your school do better to inspire your creativity?
MB: [00:03:51.01] I think when you are in an art situation, when you're given a variety of materials to work with and you can experiment with a variety of materials. If you're looking at the studio ??? it's called stretching and exploring, you're going to have creative outcomes. By providing teachers and students with resources to where they are able to experience as much as possible. it's probably the best opportunity. For example, some students are really great at drawing. They can take an observational drawing, they can draw from their imagination, that is their thing that they do. Other students work really, really well on a 3-D scale, sculpting with clay. They're like, I can't draw but you give me a ball of clay and I can make something awesome. So giving the students a variety of material to work with and giving them a direction. Create, that can be the simplest of directions, here's this pile of materials, make something. The more resources or them more materials you give teachers and then in turn you give students, the more creative people can be.
I: [00:05:13.20] You just answered the second one but I'm gonna ask it anyways. What can your school do to better inspire your students creativity?
MB: [00:05:20.13] And valuing you it. Honestly, I feel like often times when put up against academics the art class doesn’t' get as much value. Even though it is a college requirement. Even though it is a core subject, by law. There is a stigma within education and within our society in general that art and creativity are not as important as math or science or social studies or "academic classes". If we can have a culture shift that is recognized, not only by teachers, but also by administrators and the community at large that art is valuable for teaching critical thinking and exploring all those other core subjects, I think that would be really, really good for inspiring creativity in students. Cause I know I have - not all of my students, most of them, really enjoy being in the class, but there are some students who take art because it’s gonna be easy. And then they're like, why is this so hard? I'm like because this is the one class where you can explore all of those other subjects and use all of those other subjects but nobody gives you a text book that gives you a text book that tells you how to do it.
I: [00:06:41.21] What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher?
MB: [00:06:46.23] I had a really great experience when I was going through high school with my art teachers. Art was and the art classroom what my haven. I could go there and work out any problems I was having in any other space. In becoming an art teacher I wanted to be able to do that for my students. And really teach them the therapy that comes with being a creative individual and being able to use a creative space to analyze what's going on, not only in your classroom or your school but the world at large. Things that are going on and being able to look at it from multiple perspectives and express yourself because there are certain things that it's very difficult to have a conversation about or feel like you're able to make a difference about or voice your opinion on. Art serves very well as a tool to do all of those things. I kind of wanted to give my students a voice and a space to let all that stuff out. Express themselves in any way possible.
I: [00:07:53.09] Were you able to achieve that with your students?
MB: [00:07:55.08] I like to think yes. Not everybody opens up but it's really nice to be able to get done with a project and sit down with everybody and asks them directly what were you trying to express here beyond showing me that you learned the technical aspects of it? what concept or mood or idea going on behind everything here?
I: [00:08:24.06] What's your main goal as a teacher?
MB: [00:08:27.26] I just want to teach people how to get from day to day, to be very honest. I think that art is a really good way to do that. If it makes any sense.
I: [00:08:41.17] It does.
MB: [00:08:42.28] I don't know. It helps me get from day to day. It just, you know, activating different parts of my brain that I wouldn't do or work with without being in a creative space, helps me in other spaces because I'm able to - I learn how to step back and look at things from different perspectives and I like to teach my students that. This is not just something that you do in art, this is something that you're going to do in all subjects in life. Interacting with one another, critique. You're gonna need to learn how to interact with other adults in life and be able to give constructive criticism in a way that's not going to offend someone and is going to create progress with whatever it is that you're working on, for one example.
I: [00:09:31.10] Do you know how to use arts in your classroom?
MB: [00:09:35.23] Arts in my classroom? Which arts in particular?
I: [00:09:38.25] (inaudible) It just says "arts".
MB: [00:09:42.16] I'd like to hope I do. I think so being an art teacher. I do my very best.
I: [00:09:52.00] What do you see as being the role of arts in educating young people?
MB: [00:10:03.27] similar to what I've said in response to earlier questions. Art is a lens that you can use to look at other things happening in the world. You can use art to analyze culture. You can use art to analyze politics, what's going on politically. You can use it to analyze emotional situations and settings. It's kind of that lens to step back and look at pretty much anything you can think, like psychological situations, emotional situations, political situations, cultural explorations, historically you can use art. it's a great tool for teaching any subject, I think.
I:[00:10:52.00] What sparked your interest in the arts?
MB: [00:10:54.03] From the earlies age, it's been a thing for me. I was one of those kids that spent all my time drawing from as early as I can remember. My grandmother was an artist and my mom really helped foster that. As I went through school my art teachers were very inspirational individuals for me so that's how I got here.
I: [00:11:19.19] That's all the questions I have for you today. I'm Ania and you are?
MB: [00:11:23.16] Ms. Butler.
Interviewee: Marlan Simpson, Vice Principal
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
(background noise, chit chat)
I: [00:00:22.21] Can I have you please state your name and spell it for me, please?
MS: [00:00:29.27] Marlan Simpson. M-a-r-l-a-n S-i-m-p-s-o-n.
I: [00:00:35.18] Thank you. What makes you wanna come to school every day?
MS: [00:00:40.10] To be a difference for kids the way I had only a few teachers and educators do for me when I was in school.
I: [00:00:51.09] What does creativity mean to you?
MS: [00:00:55.11] Creativity means an individual being able to express his or her creative side in their own individual way.
I: [00:01:08.20] Do you feel like that’s encouraged here?
MS: [00:01:11.23] I do. I do. I will say on a scale of one to ten, maybe about a seven. Our art department definitely allows students to express themselves creatively. I think in other classrooms and other subjects it could be a little more visible.
I: [00:01:34.05] What do you think you can do to make it ???
MS: [00:01:36.27] I definitely think more technology. We have more technology here around too many first century and progressive art forms. I also think that our facilities can be updated to house and facilitate more art.
I: [00:01:57.10] From other districts do you feel like there's not a balance of what other schools get and what you have?
MS: [00:02:10.01] I agree. I think compared to New Haven Unified where I went to school and worked for almost ten years, the arts there is way more advanced than it is here as far as technology and facilities. Look at other districts like the Berkeley's and Dublin and Pleasanton, all those districts, we are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to what we offer. Mt. Eden probably has the best art facilities out of all the schools in New Haven Unified. And ours is still subpar compared to other districts.
I: [00:02:51.21] What brings out your creativity, imagination, your passion?
MS: [00:02:59.15] For me, it's a lot of stuff cause I'm an artist myself. I'm a graphic designer and a musician so, music, my experiences, all that stuff brings out my artistic side.
I: [00:03:13.17] What can your school do to inspire more creativity?
MS: [00:03:26.01] I will say all the stakeholders have to form Voltron. We have to stick together and voice what we want here in New Haven Unified. To be candid, I think our school board doesn't understand what art is cause most of our school board members aren’t' artists. They can't relate to what it means to be creative from a young person's perspective and how to express yourself. Whether that's hip hop or whether there's new contemporary forms of art, whether it's dance, different forms of dance and expressing yourselves. There's definitely a generational gap between what the baby boomers and the millennials do.
I: [00:04:19.26] Rather just having a painting class and choir and a band, you think there should be more categories?
MS: [00:04:24.04] Yes.
I: [00:04:28.24] What can your teachers do to help students bring out their creativity?
MS: [00:04:37.06] I think our teachers do a good job of it. A lot of the teachers that I observe do a pretty good job of including art and the arts in their projects. More so, our art department, they're pretty strong. It's a pretty strong department. I'd say some more of our core subject could do a better job of it like math and English.
I: [00:04:59.28] What do you think the school district can do to inspire your teachers?
MS: [00:05:05.13] Give them resources. Provide more funding and allocate more funding in the arts. Because I think the arts, kids come to school for the arts. When I was in high school I went to school cause I went to my digital audio class and my speech and debate class which to me is art too cause I was preforming. It's performing arts. so, those are the classes that got me to come to school. if they incorporated those more into the core subjects it would have caught my attention more in math, English, history and so forth.
I: [00:05:40.21] Do you feel like the teachers incorporate art into their classes and how so?
MS: [00:05:46.05] I think they do when it comes to project-based learning. I don't think they do it on a daily basis but I think a lot of them do. I see a lot of history classes, science classes that would incorporate art. Probably more so the traditional sense, not embracing a lot of new forms of art. I think there's a lot of educating that needs to be had or facilitated on what new forms of art young people are doing and how to incorporate that. It's not just about what was done in the fifties, sixties and seventies. What are new forms of contemporary art that are being implemented and used today?
I: [00:06:28.14] When they incorporate art into the class projects do you think it's more effective?
MS: [00:06:35.15] Definitely because that's what grabs kids’ attention. It's like saying, would you watch a commercial that only had audio? No, the art and all the visual components of that commercial is what intrigues us. Again, those things would captivate and get the attention of students just like marketing firms and companies use on television.
I: [00:07:02.02] What do you see as being the role of arts in educating young people?
MS: [00:07:22.21] I think it's important. It's what captures the creative mind and the left side of your brain that most people don’t' use. There's studies that show the importance of music and art in schools is what activates the other sides of kids’ minds or more of their mind that they don't use. That's the number one thing if we wanna compete with the rest of the world. Japan and China and every other country that's above the United States when it comes to education. We need to activate that side of the brain.
I: [00:08:02.10] I feel like this information has been given out, that music and different forms of art are helpful towards kids in schools. Do you think that they just disregard that at the board?
MS: [00:08:21.01] I just think they can't relate. It's like me trying to convince my grandmother to like rap music. She just can't relate. So, it's hard for them to understand and relate to something that's foreign to them. You can't go to a Spanish speaking country speaking English and expect everyone to understand where you're coming from. I think there's some education and some dialogue that needs to take place between young people and older generations about where they're going and why they do what they do and why they choose the art forms they choose.
I: [00:09:02.03] You feel like they need to be informed about the situation more?
MS: [00:09:05.19] Yes. They need to submerge themselves into the culture and figure it out and understand and be open minded about it.
I: [00:09:13.18] Do you think that it should still be the same board or should they switch it up with people who actually do understand?
MS: [00:09:21.15] I think there should be a range. I think there should be multiple generations on the board, multiple ethnicities, multiple backgrounds. It shouldn't be a model thinking board who only have one way of thinking about how education should be. I think there should be someone on the board who is twenty, twenty-one years old who can relate to young people and add that perspective and voice when it comes down to voting for what kids want and need.
I: [00:09:50.26] Thank you for your time.
MS: [00:09:54.03] You're welcome.
I: [00:09:54.18] I had a couple questions. Cause you said you did art and graphic design? What kind of graphic design? Could you elaborate on that a little bit?
MS: [00:10:03.20] Photoshop, Illustrator, the whole Adobe Suite. Web design.
I: [00:10:08.05] Are you able to use that in your day to day career?
MS: [00:10:11.28] Yeah, cause I had it installed on my work computer.
I: [00:10:14.23] Nice. I'm a graphic - I went to the Art Institute for a little bit. (inaudible)
MS: [00:10:19.14] I have pro tools and all that stuff.
I: [00:10:22.10] You said you're a musician?
MS: [00:10:23.10] Yeah, musician. And engineer.
I: [00:10:25.07] Oh nice. Do you do any instruments or is it all digital?
MS: [00:10:29.22] Pretty much all digital. Some keys, some piano but mostly digital.
I: [00:10:34.19] Nice. They had one questions and it was normally for the students but I just like to ask principals and teachers do you think that the kids are getting an overall education for adulthood?
MS: [00:10:47.07] I don't think any kid in public education is getting an education that really prepares them for adulthood. They get an education that prepares them to be a worker in the work force. That's it. They get an education that say follow these directions, do this, or else. And that's what kids are getting.
I: [00:11:09.05] Do you see that kind of kids that maybe think differently or don't think exactly to be made in a work force and they tend to have a little bit more struggles or head-butting?
MS: [00:11:22.00] They definitely do because they think outside of the box and they wanna challenge or question anything that they are learning. Which they should. We should be encouraging kids to challenge and question anything that they're given. Whether it’s a text book or from a primary source, whatever. They should question and challenge it for its validity. But we don't encourage that. We stop that. We still have that Industrial Revolution education model. It’s been the same for the last one hundred years.
I: [00:11:49.10] That's where I found myself getting into conflict in high school. Just being an independent artist thinker, they think differently. I just wanted to know your input on that.
MS: [00:12:04.01] No, definitely.
I: [00:12:10.07] How long you been over here for?
MS: [00:12:11.20] Two years. This is my fourth year in this district. Two years at this school.
I: [00:12:16.17] Where were you at before?
MS: [00:12:17.12] New Haven. ??? High School. A continuation high school.
I: [00:12:22.14] I worked at Impact before it was down the street. Pretty cool over there.
Interviewee: Susan Maloney, English teacher
Interviewer: Tauriq Hamilton
Interview Location: Mt. Eden High School
Date: December 1, 2016
I: [00:00:06.24] I'd like to introduce myself first. My name is Tauriq. I go to San Lorenzo High School. What is your name?
SM: [00:00:17.19] Susan Maloney and I'm a teacher here at Mt. Eden High School. I'm an English teacher.
I: [00:00:22.18] What subject do you teach in high school?
SM: [00:00:25.10] I'm teaching English. Right now I have twelfth graders and ninth graders.
I: [00:00:28.16] That's nice.
SM: [00:00:29.17] Yeah, the beginning and the end.
I: [00:00:30.25] What makes you come to school every day?
SM: [00:00:33.20] I really like being around young people. Always have liked being around young people. I think stories humanize us. I think it's important for students to still have access to stories and literature and then be able to write their own stories. So, that inspires me.
I: [00:00:50.20] In your own definition, what does creativity mean to you?
SM: [00:00:55.14] I think it means keeping the fire alive so that things become new, interpreted in new ways. because our society is changing we have all these new ways that we can express. that's what I think it means. It's just keeping things alive.
I: [00:01:13.29] What ignites your creativity, your passion to do something?
SM: [00:01:19.00] That's a hard question. It's that metaphor of the flame. Knowing that maybe I'm gonna do something that's gonna years from now make somebody remember, even if they don't remember me or remember who I am, they're like oh, there was that one book from that one lady (laughter). you know what I mean? And it makes them think about that so that kind of ignites my creativity.
I: [00:01:45.12] Just having that moment of having people acknowledge you for something and appreciate it?
SM: [00:01:52.11] I've been teaching a long time so I have had some students who are now adults be able to say, I never got the chance to tell you but that book we read, even at the time it didn’t mean much or that paper we wrote, later I could see, later I could go back and see. It's nice to be able to have a chance to say it wasn’t' for nothing, you know? Cause sometimes you’re teaching and the students are just sitting there and you think nobody’s listening. But, I do think students listen.
I: [00:02:21.15] That's great. What pushes you to have students learn more in school?
SM: [00:02:34.06] For me, education was the great opener. My parents were under-educated and I didn't come from a family where, it was a value that they didn't really understand. They were like you gotta get an education. But, because they hadn't really gone out - they were wise but not educated. When you can be wise and educated it just opens so many doors for you. It's that thing that never expires. When my diploma, even though I got it a long time ago stills good. Still valid. It's a gift that you give yourself that you can only give yourself that never expires, never goes bad.
I: [00:03:14.24] it just stays with you forever.
SM: [00:03:17.08] It stays with you forever, yeah. It's something you can always return to, go back to, improve on, make better. I think it’s - yeah.
I: [00:03:25.10] That's great. The way I think of education is the way it used to be back then. It's very different now because we can see some students have the academic problems where they can't keep up with the school work or they're just lazy. It could just be anything. Have you ever pushed creativity in your English class to make sure the students can keep their grades up or be interested in just coming to class and like oh, I'm ready, what are we gonna do today?
SM: [00:04:08.11] Yeah. Most students when they come in my room, if they're not my students, they often times will say to me "what class is this?" Cause they look around and they can't tell really that’s it's strictly an English class. I like that. Because I do try - there's watercolors where they've interpreted Shakespeare’s quotes through water color. So, the students who were resistant to Shakespeare could then do it in a different way. I try to do a lot where the students can perform things or talk to each other. I don’t run a class where the students just sit quietly because I think we learn better in conversation. I value that so I give grades for that and points for that. So I try to make it that any student, there's a pathway to success. Most of the students are here to be successful. There's very few that are coming just to make trouble and give me grief. Most of them they're here so they'll like well, I'm already here so I might as well try to do something.
I: [00:05:12.22] Do you think the school, in general the staff, can help spark students’ creativity? Or do they do that at this moment?
SM: [00:05:24.01] Mt. Eden has a really amazing art program. One of the things I really like is their theory isn't that you're a naturally talented artist, is that everybody’s an artist. You just need a teacher and some instruction and the artist in you will come out. I think that there's a lot of teachers at this school that sort of have that too. Nobody’s a naturally talented reader or writer. It's hard work. But, if you're willing to sit, listen to your own voice, read some other really cool other voices and do the work, everybody can do it.
I: [00:06:05.24] As part of creativity I like to think of it as having people’s voice being heard in the classroom or just wanting to say something to have a conversation. Do you have that type of relationship in your class?
SM: [00:06:25.06] I hope I do. I think the students would say that I do. Sometimes they do have to just read what's on the page and there is a certain amount of vocabulary and grammatic things. It's just like you learn how to do it right and then if you wanna switch it up, do it different, do something backwards at least you know that that's what you're doing. I hope the students feel that way that there's never a day when they're never just gonna sit and listen to me talk. That's it more them talking and interacting with whatever it is that we're doing and bringing what they know.
I: [00:07:07.08] I wanna ask what are your main goals? But before I ask, during this interview I kind of feel like your main goal toward the student is to have a connection and a relationship within the classroom including you. And just having a safe environment. Am I in the right direction?
SM: [00:07:32.01] yeah. And to have them feel successful. That's my main goal. Where, whatever that looks like for them. If I could I wouldn't give grades but I have to. because I think they that become this subjective thing. What does an A really mean? You might have grown so much but maybe your work, if someone’s just strictly looked at it, they'd say oh, that's not really what a grade level tenth grader would be doing. But, I know where you've come to. That would be my goal is that the students feel successful. Cause I think success - feeling successful every day is really important and I think that's what makes you wanna try again and risk it again.
I: [00:08:16.01] have you ever seen that in your students? maybe freshman year, they're either kind of sheltered or not doing nothing and then throughout the years (inaudible) they bloom up. Have you ever seen that?
SM: [00:08:30.03] Yeah, definitely. My ninth graders, I'll have them again for tenth grade cause I'm the ??? teacher which is for first generation college students. That's one thing that we commit that they stay with their English teacher for two years. We really get them tobe the best readers and writers we can. A lot of times I get to see them again as twelfth graders. That's pretty fun to watch them. They'll say that to me like gosh, remember in ninth grade when I wouldn't even talk and I could barely write a paragraph and I'd never actually read a whole book and you were like, well in here we're gonna read a whole book from beginning to end and I thought we'd never thought we'd do it. I mean, I still read out loud to my students and they're like, wow nobody’s done that for a while. It's not just read the chapter at home. We try to do stuff in class.
I: [00:09:19.00] Try to as much activities as possible.
SM: [00:09:21.25] Yeah. Because their lives outside of school is unrealistic for some of these students. it's not a traditional environment that they go home to where they've got a desk and milk and cookies and they're just able to do hours of homework.
I: [00:09:40.13] Have you ever had a meeting with teachers about certain students? Not certain students, but maybe wanna do activities for students ??? classroom or just find something new to your classroom?
SM: [00:10:01.16] Where we do stuff with other teachers? What do you mean?
I: [00:10:05.22] I should rephrase that, probably.
SM: [00:10:10.08] We did a humanities program where in my AP class we started reading ancient Greek myths and then the art teacher had them look at ancient Greek art. That was pretty fun. It took a lot of coordinating. And as every time we moved ahead in - when we read something form the time of Shakespeare they were looking at art from the time of Shakespeare. It took a lot of coordination but it was really interesting for the students. They liked it.
I: [00:10:41.01] That sounds pretty cool. Reading about Shakespeare. I just finished Macbeth and I felt like that was a great book. I was just kinda unsure about the ending but I liked everything that was going on in the book and the vocabulary in it was really great to read something of Shakespeare. Do you integrate art in your classroom?
SM: [00:11:11.22] As much as I can. We preform when we read plays. We read the poetry out loud almost always and try to get the students to not just count the syllables or something but to really think about what it means. With the seniors we have to move a little quicker so we don't have a lot of time to do art. But, with the freshman I try to do as much art and have them work on projects together cause I think that's really important they get to talk to each other. Then the kid that is quieter or more introverted sometimes will in a smaller group talk a little more and have some really great ideas. Then other people can see that in them. so that they'renot always feeling the pressure to talk in front of a whole group.
I: [00:11:57.05] In your class have you ever wanted to support introverted students? I know in certain classrooms or maybe at different school introverted students never really get to talk or are able to get their voice heard. do you try to push that limit and -
SM: [00:12:20.22] Yeah, my students don’t raise their hands. I have a deck of playing cards and they all right their names on them at the beginning of the year and then I shuffle those. Either I'll put the questions up, we'll project up what's gonna be discussed for the discussion or we'll do a Socratic seminar style. But, we just use the cards and I flip through the cards so that everybody, they know what they're gonna be asked, they've had a time to talk about it so when their card comes up usually they’re willing to say something cause it's not just sprung on them. Cause I find when I have kids raise hands it's always the same four kids that wanna raise their hands.
I: [00:12:57.08] It's like a few kids that’s extroverted (inaudible)
SM: [00:13:01.11] everybody else just sits and lets them talk.
I: [00:13:03.17] With the deck of cards you just pick and choose and they start to be more at ease?
SM: [00:13:09.00] Yeah, so like question one, talk to your partner real quick. And the flip it over, alright let's hear what you and your partner had to say. And it's whoever's name comes up. They usually are pretty good about that.
I: [00:13:21.09] Do they sometimes feel pressured during the cards or do they feel OK?
SM: [00:13:25.28] I'm sure they do but I think that's OK. I think it's a safe pressure. I think that's a reality in life. You are sometimes gonna have to say something and be able to speak out loud. It's part of - it's one of our teaching goals, being able to speak out loud and express yourself. so, hopefully - I know it's not anybody’s favorite thing. If I say hey we're gonna do presentations and you're gonna stand up in front of the class and talk. Nobody’s like, yeah! (clapping) Usually, they're like ugh. But, they do it. I try to make it safe so they're doing it in groups or can pick a partner to come stand with you. You can sit on a chair if you don't wanna stand if you think your gonna pass out. I have a special little chair they can sit on. They can sit in the big chair. Or have this little soft chair back here, they can sit in the soft chair. We're all gonna look at you and you're gonna have to say something. Cause everybody has to do that at some point in life. I’m sure it's not some kids favorite thing but I hope they're not too traumatized (laughter). That's my goal.
I: [00:14:33.18] And in your twelfth period classes do you teach - rather than just English, do you promote adulthood towards them or show them what to be ready for? Just the basics cause you can't really show everything of adulthood, it’s all through experience.
SM: [00:14:53.15] I try to secretly do it through literature. Like, we read a play that's called "A Dollhouse" and it's about a couple that are having all these money problems. Before we read the play, I have them do a budget. So, we get a budget sheet and if you make this money and they have to figure this out. I have them work with a partner on it and have discussions about where the money goes and how much you're gonna save. Then we talk about loans cause there's a loan that's happened and interest rates. I try to not make it like it’s an economics class but just sneak it in. And then in the literature in the play it's where the couples fighting about it. The womans lied to her husband about it. So we talk about that kind of thing.
I: [00:15:44.03] What do you see as the role of arts in educating young people?
SM: [00:15:56.02] Oh, I think it's really important. I think it really does activate another part of your brain completely. So whether you're - like we have a dance program and I'm always surprised that the students who, sometimes the quietest students, and you see the in the dance program and you're like whoa! They're just able to be so free. I think it's nice to tap into another side. It's that success thing. Everybody gets to be successful. The same way we have an art gallery so the students who don't maybe in class, they don't talk much but then this amazing art kind of comes out of them. And we have a pretty great music program. In the end, for my seniors we read a play and their final presentation, because they're seniors and they have terrible senior-itis and they don't want to write anything, you know by May they're done. They just have to do anything they want for three minutes and it has to be inspired by a line from the play. I've had such amazing things. Really interesting things.
I: [00:17:00.02] Can you tell me one of them?
SM: [00:17:01.15] One super science-y kid - cause part of the play is about math and patterns, and he did a whole thing about patterns and weather, this huge PowerPoint. But, for him that was super creative. He had pictures and charts and it was really big. Other students have come in and played instruments and played original music. I've had kids sing. some kids have written their own plays based on some and then filmed them and they put them up. One kid did a whole - cause it deals with time, this play, and he dida whole day backwards and filmed that. It would speed up and slow down time. he got to show how great he was with all the tech and all of the editing and added in music. it was pretty fun. It's literature but art too at the same time.
I: [00:17:56.16] What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher?
SM: [00:18:06.01] I hoped that the - what did I hope to accomplish? I think I hoped that the students would - cause I liked reading and writing and that made a difference for me, and I hope that they could like reading and writing and see that it could make a difference for them. I think if you can read and write you can do anything. Even if you're a great mathematician, you're gonna have to be able to read and write. Even if you're - I had a student one time and he was like, look I'm just gonna be a garbage man, I don't need to read and write. We found all the rules and regs for throwing stuff away and recycling and he had to actually be able to read and write quite a bit. He was surprised that he had to read and write quite a bit. I think that that was it.
I: [00:19:04.11] Sounds like you have a bunch of great classrooms and stuff.
SM: [00:19:08.25] I do. I feel really lucky, really. I've been a teacher since 1989, way before you guys were born. I know, like, what?! I've always taught in Hayward. I taught middle school for a while and then I moved up here and started teaching high school. I do like it. I like what I do. It's pretty fun. So I've taught everything from seventh grade to twelfth grade over the years. It's never boring cause it's always something different and the students are different. They keep changing. Hopefully I keep changing.
I: [00:19:37.13] Yeah. So it's always something new every year.
SM: [00:19:39.00] yeah.
I: [00:19:39.13] Alright. Thank you for your time. This is the end -