Teacher Interview Transcripts: 

Phase 2 of the Listening Campaign

Interviewee: 39 year old Female, English teacher at San Lorenzo High school

Interviewer: Alexa Pina

I: [00:00:00:01] 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 really works for you and your school/community.  May we ask you a few questions?

39: [00:00:00:19]  Yes

I: [00:00:00:21]  What is your role?

39: [00:00:00:24]  I’m an English teacher at San Lorenzo High school.

I: [00:00:00:26]  Your age?

39: [00:00:00:28] 39.

I: [00:00:00:29]  Gender?

39: [00:00:00:30]  Female.

I: [00:00:00:30] Ethnicity?

39: [00:00:00:32]  South Asian American.

I: [00:00:00:34]  Neighborhood?

39: [00:00:00:35]  I live in Castro Valley.

I: [00:00:00:37]  What make you want to go to school/ work everyday?

39: [00:00:00:41]  What makes me what to come to work everyday is,  I’m always excited about the curriculum that we’re doing in my classes.  I love interacting with my students and my colleagues.

I: [00:00:00:55]  What does creativity mean to you?

39: [00:00:00:58]  Creativity to me meanslooking at ways to solve problems in a different way than might be expected.  Whether those are problems that you’re going through personally or problems that you’re going through with an assignment or problems that you’re going through like trying to figure out big issues at a school, in a community, in government.  So kind of looking at those through a different lens, then figuring out a different way to solve them.

I: [00:00:01:27]  What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?

39: [00:00:01:32]  Definitely other people and ideas that I get from other people inspire creativity within me, whether its like an idea that I get from a student or colleague or something that I see online, or in the media or on pinterest.  Where it’s like “Oh, that’s cool.  I want to try that.  I want to make that.”  So, yeah.  Ideas from other people, usually.

I: [00:00:01:55]  What ignites your students creativity, imagination, and passion from what you’e seen over the years?

39: [00:00:02:02]  That is a question that I’m always trying to answer because sometimes I think like “Oh this activity or assignment will, people will really be into it and then they’re not and then something like “Oh, we’re going to spend like 30 mins on this” and people are like “Oh,  I really want to keep working on this.  Can we work on that again?” So, that’s something that I’m constantly trying to learn more about and figure out.

I: [00:00:02:29]  What can your school do to better inspire your creativity?

39: [00:00:02:34]  My personal creativity?  I think that the school and the district specifically can respect the work that teachers and our students do and show more of a positive response to the things that we do and the things that our students do well, rather than constantly telling us that we’re not good enough.  Because I think like, I see that in my students too, like if their always being told that you’re not good enough, you’re not going to ever be able to do that so don’t try.  Then they just give up and same thing, I feel like as teachers at our school site a lot of times we’re viewed as “Oh that schools doing the wrong things and they’re just like bad and so then it makes us feel like, well then why are we even trying if you don’t even see the good things that we do?

I: [00:00:03:26]  What can your school do to better inspire you students creativity?

39: Same thing.  I think that any time when students feels, or anybody feel they’re valued, their opinion matters, what they produce is important and somebody recognizes it.  I think that inspires them to keep trying.  For example one thing that I see that works really well is the BATTA Film festival is one example where people get to see their work honored and respected for the time that they put into it, which whether or not they win a prize, just have that open to them it makes them feel good.  It makes them want to keep trying.

I: [00:00:04:08]  What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to became a teacher and were you able to achieve this with your students?

39: [00:00:04:14]  I think the reason I wanted to become a teacher, I decided that when I was in high school was that I wanted to be an english teacher and what I really liked at that point was“Oh, I will get to talk to kids about books.  That’s what I’ll do and it’ll be awesome.”  And then when I started student teaching and interacting with students and going to grad school its like “Oh I will be helping students, who maybe don’t have, who have always been told that they aren’t good enough,  I’ll be helping those students to improve their lives.”  And we were given this perspective like, “You will change peoples lives.  You will shape the future.” And when I actually started teaching I found that both of those things are kind of true but neither of those things is what I actually do on a daily basis.  What I do on a daily basis is a lot more like, listening to people and figuring out where they are at that moment and how I can help them get to the next step wherever that thing is that they’re going through.  Whether it’s like “I don’t know how to do this essay.” or “My parents were screaming at me last night and I feel like shit today.” or “I tried out for this thing and I didn’t get it.” So whatever that one thing is that’s on their mind that day, I feel like one this is do is just help them get one step above where they are at that moment.

I: [00:00:05:47]  What’s your main goal as a teacher?

39: [00:00:05:51]  My main goal as a teacher is to help students feel confident in what they can do and feel interested in finding out what else they can do.

I:[00:00:06:09] What do you see as being the role of arts in educating young people?

39: [00:00:06:14]  Arts for me had a huge impact in my education.  Growing up if I didn't have music, like that was such a… Like music theater, those things shaped me as a kid.  I got most of that education through public schools.  If I did not have that I would not be who I am at all today.  It shaped who I interact it.  It shaped what I’m interested in.  It shaped the experiences that I had and I just think that when young people have that open to them its inspiring, its interesting.  And whether or not it’s something they stick with in the long run, just having that creative outlet is immeasurable.  I think that its really sad that whenever’s there budget cuts and things like that the first thing to go is arts, cause I think that’s so backwards as to what should happen. 

I: [00:00:07:19]  Do you use arts in your classroom and if so what are you doing?

39: [00:00:07:24]  I use arts in a variety of ways.  I would like to use more, especially in classes like creative writing where I have a little bit more freedom in what I’m doing on a day to day basis.  I incorporate music as a writing prompt.  I incorporate visual arts as writing prompts.  I incorporate art experiences, like watching videos or going to see art outside, in public art.  So using art as an inspiration for writing; I do that a lot.  I try in my regular english classes to bring it in sometimes but I would like to do it more than I do. 

I: [00:00:08:17]  What resources do you find valuable?

39: [00:00:08:23]  What do you mean by resources?

I: [00:00:08:26]  Like, when I say resources I mean like what books, technology.  What is useful or what resources do you find valuable with teaching students?

39: [00:00:08:43] Definitely time.  Like paid time to collaborate and get ideas with my colleagues is number one because we work together so much and all the stuff we do in class, the english teachers work together to make it.  So if we have time to do that, it’s huge.  When our district got this grant to get these (9:12-9:13 Cromble ??) cards into classrooms, that has been really helpful cause so far they work and every kid can use one.  It’s so easy to just be like “Okay, we’re going to look at this thing online.” or “ We’re going to do this assignment online.” It just opens a world of opportunities and access to things.  So that has been a huge resource.  Just having technology that works.  Like a projector that works.  These basic things where like, I feel like wealthier districts don’t have to think about it twice. I appreciate those things so much.  When our school ran out of money for colored paper, it seems like such a little thing but it makes such a difference when I can color code these assignments to make it easier for kids to stay organized.  I can, you know, these little basic things, so those kind of resources are really helpful.  I feel like it would be really nice if our classrooms were more updated and maintained better because again I feel like its about self confidence for our students and if they’re in a classroom when yellow liquid is leaking from the ceiling or theres rodents in the classrooms or there’s no soap in the bathrooms; I feel like that just makes the students feel like “Oh, well we’re not worth investing in.”  And I think that’s pathetic.

I: [00:00:10:51]  What do you see students learning?

39: [00:00:10:56]  I see students building confidence, which like I said that’s the most important thing to me.  Like that feeling they have when they’re like “I know how to do this.  I’ve done this.  You’ve showed me how to do this and now I can do this by myself.” I love that.  Like, that’s what I live for.  So, its like “Oh, it’s not complicated.  I was just stressing myself out. I could easily do that.  Here’s how I do it.”  And then when they take what I gave them and then they build on that with their own stuff; that’s like gold.

I: [00:00:11:31]  Do you believe in Alameda county mission that by 2022 each and every child in Alameda county public schools is successfully engaged in creative and active learning both in and out of school in preparation for college career and community life?

39: [00:00:11:48]  I believe that it is a good idea.  I don’t know that I believe it is likely to happen but I believe it is something that we should definitely work toward.

I: [00:00:12:07]  Do you believe that the arts help prepare students for a better future?

39: [00:00:12:11]  Yes, absolutely.

I: [00:00:12:13]  Thank you for your time.

39: [00:00:12:14]  You’re so welcome. 

Interviewee: 43 year old female, English teacher at San Lorenzo High school

Interviewer: Alexa Pina

I: [00:00:00:02]  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 that we could make a plan that really works for you and your school/community.  May we ask you a few questions?

F43: [00:00:00:20] Sure.

I: [00:00:00:21]  What is your role; student, parent, teacher or community member?

F43: [00:00:00:27] Teacher.

I: [00:00:00:28] Your age?

F43: [00:00:00:29] 43.

I: [00:00:00:30] Gender?

F43: [00:00:00:31] Female.

I: [00:00:00:32] Ethnicity?

F43: [00:00:00:33] Half Japanese, half German.

I: [00:00:00:35] Neighborhood?

F43: [00:00:00:36] I live in Livermore.

I: [00:00:00:40]  What school do you work for?

F43: [00:00:00:43]  San Lorenzo High school.

I: [00:00:00:44]  What makes your want to go to school everyday?

F43: [00:00:00:48] What makes me want to work everyday is okay, a few things; number one I do this because I love working with teenagers.  I love learning and I love the idea of young people being able to learn as much as possible so that they are knowledgable and empowered when they enter the world to do whatever it is that they would like to do.  So I view my role as partly, I wouldn’t go so far to say a role of social justice but I do believe in creating a level playing field for everyone and part of it is giving students what they need so they can be what they want to be and that’s what brings me here.  I mean other things bring me here too; like I have great colleagues.  And I teach English so then I have a love for reading and writing, and listening and speaking as a form of communication and connecting with people because I believe that’s really whats important is being able to connect on a deep and knowledgable level with people in order for our world to be better.

I: [00:00:01:59] What does creativity mean to you?

F43: [00:00:00:2:02]  Creativity means doing whats in your heart.  Whether you’re writing or maybe your just…you could just be writing a note.  You could be creating your own website.  It could be writing a poem.  It could be how you are, how you approach challenges as well.  I also like to think of creativity as something to do with how you approach problems and challenges; what are some ways to get around those.  I also like to think of creativity as a way of working with people.  How to be creative in situations to involve more people.  I mean it really… I think sometimes that people think of creativity just when they think of art which I think is true but I also think it has to just with a general approach.  And thats the way I was raised too.  Approach problems with creativity. Approach your goals with creativity.  Like always be thinking about the other way and not a predefined way or the way that we’re supposed to do but the way that will get the work done or whatever it is done but again going back to your heart, what your heart says.

I: [00:00:03:12]  What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?

F43: [00:00:03:18]  Other people. I find myself most inspired.  It could be a student says somethingor a student needs something.  It could be an adult.  It could be something I see or hear about on the news but its usually other people.

I: [00:00:03:41] What ignites your students creativity, imagination and passion from what you’ve seen?

F43: [00:00:03:36]  Oh gosh.  Well that can be a range.  A lot of it depends on what students like so what I’ve seen for example; I have a student who’s really into, he has his own rap group so that inspires it for him.  I have students who like to express themselves through drawing so they might gain their inspirations through we read.  To be honest I’m still looking for ways for some students.  If don’t feel like they’ve fully tapped into their creativity.  Maybe some have gotten used to being told or not thinking in a different way.  So that’s also part of what I try to do is just help themfigure out what their inspiration is.  Like how to have a voice, basically.

I: [00:00:04:31]  What can your school do to better inspire your creativity?

F43: [00:00:04:37]  I’m not sure its something my school could do.  I do think overall there are a lot of rules and regulations in public education that make things difficult so I just try to work within those rules.  I mean I guess in an ideal world, again I know it can’t be this way, there would just be more freedoms.  There would be more opportunities for things to be more flexible and open so you could try different things without so much worry about tests, and student tests scores.  Like all that to be is very stifling.  I understand why its necessary but… yeah.

I: [00:00:05:13]  What can your school do to better inspire your students creativity?

F43: [00:00:05:17]  I guess it would be similar.  I mean this is the way its set up right now.  It’s hard to have a place where there’s 1,400 kids and trying to meet everyones needs.  You have to have some sense of order and structure.  But its hard to inspire ones creativity within those confines.  I think different kids need different things, unfortunately we can’t make all that available to everyone.  So I always personally try my best just at least within my classroom to offer different ways for kids to express themselves. 

I: [00:00:05:51]  What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher and were you able to achieve this with your students?

F43: [00:00:05:58] I just want kids to know that they’re more powerful than they think they are.  I don’t know if I’ve accomplished that.  I guess some kids have said that but some kids haven't really ended up on the path that I would have liked for them but that’s where they are.  I want people to,  I said it before just be empowered by this idea of knowledge.  I want them to be curious about learning and knowing so when they leave this world they don’t accept what they’re told.  They could be told something but then they seek for themselves to find out the information so that they can make good decisions.  Whatever it may be in life, so that they end up in a place where they are happy.

I: [00:00:06:43]  What’s your main goal as a teacher?

F43: [00:00:06:47] Okay, so kinda similar.  I mean my main, sounds repetitive.  I’ll try to think of a new way to say it.  Bottom line is, yeah I teach English but what I really want kids to be able to do is to be like a fully functioning member of society in a way that sits right with the student in terms of what are their values.  What are their morals?  What’s important to them.  I want them to be able to figure that out and live by that in a way that makes them happy and successful.  And then also I find more students than not don’t realize that they have that power so they they spend time kinda, not using their time well here.  So I want to hopefully inspire them to be more confident and just like that they can do it.

I: [00:00:07:40]  What do you see as being the role of arts in education young people?

F43: [00:00:07:46]  I can only really speak to arts as English language arts.  So the role to me is, I think reading stories is a great way to expand your experiences.  Like we’re not all gonna experience everything but you read something like “Enrique’s Journey” for example, where a kid travels on a train to find his mother.  It’s a non fiction story and you may connect with that in some way, maybe you were a family member who’s experienced it but if you haven't then thats a way, thats like an eye into a different part of the world.  Maya Angelou always used to say that reading is a passport to understanding.  So the more you understand more people the better you can functionand do a better job contributing to the world.

I: [00:00:08:31] Do you use arts in your classroom?

F43: [00:00:08:37] Mmmm, we do. So we do poetry.  I try to do different forms of artistic expression.  Again, I don’t know what definition of arts your using but if your talking about the idea of language arts and literature.

I: [00:00:08:50]  Well, when I say arts, I mean all types of arts. Arts varying from dancing, to drawing to….

F43: [00:00:08:57] Yeah, we do a lot of visual imagery and stuff like that. Yeah.

I: [00:00:09:04] What gaps exist and what needs do they have?

F43: [00:00:09:11] I’m not really sure about that one.  Try another.

I mean, I think some of those are getting,  I mean its not your fault I talked (9:29-9:30 them out ??) a little bit but that has to do with, I mean its hard.

I: [00:00:09:31] No, these questions are actually a little bit confusing.

F43: [00:00:09:33]  It’s okay.

I: [00:00:09:35]  Do you believe our mission by 2022, each and every child in Alameda county public schools is successfully engaged in creative and active learning both in and out of school in preparation for college career and community life?

F43: [00:00:09:54]  Do I believe in that mission?

I: [00:00:09:56] Yeah.

F43: [00:00:09:59]  Okay. Yeah! Umm but I think ultimately it’s going to be up to the student. I think, what I’ve learned is I can only offer so much and then its incumbent upon the student to take action.

I: [00:00:10:12]  Do you believe the arts help prepares students for a better future?

F43: [00:00:10:16]  Yeah. I think in general as much as you can and as many ways you can learn how to express yourself the better off you are.

I: [00:00:10:23]  Thank you for your time

F43: [00:00:10:24]  You welcome.  Thank you.

Interviewee:  Mr. Murphy, 51 year old San Lorenzo High school teacher, Male, White, El Cerrito

Interviewer: Alexa Pina

I: [00:00:00:01] 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 really works for you and your school/community.  May we ask you a few questions?

M51yo:  [00:00:00:19]  Yes.

I: [00:00:00:20] What is your role? Student, parent, teacher or community member?

M51yo: [00:00:00:22]  I’m a teacher here at San Lorenzo High school.  I teach Government, Economics and U.S. History.

I:[00:00:00:26]  Age?

M51yo: [00:00:00:28]  I’m 51.

I:[00:00:00:29]  Gender?

M51yo: [00:00:00:29]  Male.

I: [00:00:00:30]  Ethnicity?

M51yo: [00:00:00:31]  White.

I: [00:00:00:32]  Neighborhood?

M51yo: [00:00:00:32] El Cerrito.

I: [00:00:00:33] What makes you want to go to school everyday, or come to work everyday?

M51yo: [00:00:00:38]  I have a passion for what I do.  I want to teach my students, especially in government and economics about the very real things that are happening in the world and get them to connect to those and have that drive my curriculum.

I: [00:00:00:52]  What does creativity mean to you?

M51yo: [00:00:00:57]  Creativity means being able to look at, particularly for my curriculum, to look at an issue and to understand it from both sides of an argument.  To have students connect to prior knowledge.  Things that they know and to ignite a passion for being a citizen of American, a world citizen, being informed, knowledgeable and having really well thought out strong opinions about how they feel about the world.

I: [00:00:01:28]  What ignites your creativity, imagination, and passion?

M51yo: [00:00:01:33]  I’m very big on world events; what’s happening in our country and across the world.  I’m pretty well informed on that subject and it helps me make decisions about other things that I do in my life; about other jobs I have, things I do, investments that I make.  Things like that.

I: [00:00:01:58]  What ignites your students creativity, imagination, and passion from what you’ve seen over the years?

M51yo: [00:00:02:04]  I think it’s drawing in a real world connection, that I think its important to, especially when we being learning something like say a new unit that there’s a prior connection, there’s a way to do what’s called deconstructing larger ideas so that we can make what’s being discussed more relevant, more real, things to tap into, their feelings, their opinions and thoughts.  So, by making what we’re doing accessible to them.

I: [00:00:02:26]  What can your school do to better inspire your creativity?

M51yo: [00:00:02:42]  I would like to see sort of more what’s called “cross curricular planning” because that I think means what’s happening in social studies relates to maybe what’s happening in english, maybe if we’re doing economics, something thats studied in math class.  Things that have a tie-in so as students move from one class to another there’s a connection between what they just learned and what they’re about to learn. 

I: [00:00:03:09]  What can your school do to better inspire your students creativity?

M51yo: [00:00:03:15]  I would say having things that reflect around the school culture or campus what’s going on in the rooms.  We do that to a degree, obviously if you go down the hallways you see art projects, things like that.  Things that are happening like Mr. Mcvay’s class or an art class.  And I would like to see more things like that in other classrooms, other than electives.  So, you know we go to drama to watch a play but how about… (school announcement interruption) So in a similar way doing things where teachers have like, having people come in to watch a debate, let’s say, in addition to things like plays or movies, that kind of thing.

I: [00:00:03:36]  What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a teacher and were you able to achieve this with your students?

M51yo: [00:00:04:03]  Well I want to share with my students a passion for the world and the things that I care about and having them become informed.  Am I successful in that regard? I guess that depends on when you talk to me.  Somedays I feel like I’m more successful than others.  I feel that in some ways I’ve had impact.  Sometimes I’m not even aware of it at the time.  Students have come back to me afterwards and told me what they’ve learned or how they’ve used what they’ve learned, which is always a good feeling.

I: [00:00:04:36]  What’s your main goal as a teacher?

M51yo: [00:00:04:38]  To like I say, make my students informed about the world as citizens because it directly affects their lives.  Who’s in office, who gets elected, what the issues are, having an understanding of that.  Those are real world sorts of things. 

I: [00:00:04:56]  What do you see as being the role of arts in educating young people?

M51yo: [00:00:05:01]  I think art has an immediate connection with people because it’s something that people bring their own feelings, thoughts, interpretations to and I think it can be a very powerful too.  I mean, I think it’s an old cliche to say a picture is worth a thousand words but at the same time having a piece of work, like some of the art work I have on my walls here can be a discussion point.  A lot of it’s historical.  A lot of it, like in the back of my room I have propaganda art from things like the Soviet Union.  Things like that, that can help connect the message that you are trying to get across. 

I: [00:00:05:36]  Do you use arts in your classrooms?

M51yo: [00:00:05:42]  I have, though not as much as I would like to.  I guess part of it is that I’m relatively new, I’ve been teaching for a long time but I’m a relatively new high school teacher so I’m still kinda getting the curriculum figured out.  I’d like to think that maybe in the near futurethat I would be able to incorporate more art into my lesson plans.

I: [00:00:06:11]  What resources do you find valuable?

M51yo: [00:00:06:16]  I find a lot of news sources valuable.  I try to often bring in, particularly with my government and economics class online sources for news talking about current events and relating them back to what it is that we’re studying to kind of illustrate real life, real world examples of the curriculum.

I: [00:00:06:40]  What do you see the students learning?

M51yo: [00:00:06:44]  I do see students gaining an awareness of issues and getting them to especially refine their own thoughts and opinions.  What’s really important to me as a teacher is that I don’t fill my students with my opinions but try to get them to think independently, constructively, coming up with their own independent thoughts and opinions.  And I feel it’s my role to help nurture that and its something that I do see from students; being able to take something that we’ve discussed and then have them come back later and talk about it, expand on the idea.  So seeing an expansion of the ideas that we talk about in class beyond simply what’s being taught. 

I: [00:00:07:27]   Do you believe our mission by 2022, each and every child in Alameda county public schools is successfully engaged in creative and active learning both in and out of school in preparation for college career and community life?

M51yo: [00:00:07:46]  I’m all in favor of those things but one of the things that as a government teacher that I know; government tends to set sort of artificial and arbitrary time lines for things and its great to say by 2022 or whatever date you pick, that all students will be this or all students will be that but the reality is that you can set those goals and they are worthy, achievable goals but I tend to be a bit skeptical from seeing lots and lots of educational reform in my years of teaching, where they’ve set up those goals and then they haven't been met and then suddenly new goals change.  So, my question would be how do the people that are proposing this, how do they plan to get there by 2022.  What steps, what actions do they plan to take?

I: [00:00:08:31]  Do you believe that the arts helps prepare students for a better future?

M51yo: [00:00:08:34]  Yes, I think that art education’s extremely important because art is reflective of ideas in the world that is a way of expressing peoples innermost thoughts, feelings, theres a passion and generally art as a connection or meaning when we relate it to something back in our lives, whether that political, social, whatever it is.  So art is a great jumping off point for a discussion for the way people interpret the world.

I: [00:00:09:06]  Thank you.

M51yo: [00:00:09:07] Thank you.

Interviewee: Kip Dougan, AmeriCorps service member and, Tutor at Reach

Interviewer: Daniel Henson

I: [00:00:00:07] 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 that we could make a plan that really works for you and your school/community.  May we ask you a few questions?

KD: [00:00:00:22]  Of course.

I: [00:00:00:26]  What is your name and what is your role here?

KD: [00:00:00:28]  My name is Kip Dougan.  I am an AmeriCorp service member.  I work here at REACH and I am a tutor and I support the San Lorenzo Unified School District here with various programming and things that they do.

I: [00:00:00:41]  What makes you want to come tutor the students here everyday?

KD: [00:00:00:44]  I love working in education.  I love sharing my knowledge.  I love teaching.  I love being around young people.  It makes me feel amazing.  What I going here for me at REACH it’s unlike anything I’ve ever had in my entire life so I just love this job. 

I: [00:00:01:00]  What does creativity mean to you?

KD: [00:00:01:02]  Creativity is expression and when we feel sad or we feel passionate we want to express ourselves by creating stuff so I think the act of creation is very important when it comes to you know, expressing yourself, feeling better about yourself.

I: [00:00:01:28]  What ignites your creativity, imagination and passion?

KD: [00:00:01:31]  That’s a great question.  Sometimes when I’m struggling.  You know, like when I’m going through a difficult time.  When I’m having, you know dealing with some depressed feelings or if I feel like the world is against me, for whatever reason that makes me want to create.  And when I feel safe, and when I feel like everything is going well for some reason I’m not as creative which is a really interesting thing. 

I: [00:00:01:53]  What do you think ignites the students here their creativity, imagination and passion?

KD: [00:00:01:59]  That’s a great question.  It seems like a lot of the kids are really inspired by social media and like things like Instagram.  So I definitely see a lot of kids, as far as like, you know kids can be very creative on their Snap chat.  Like making a really funny snap chat story or recording themselves.  Although I’ve seen a lot of like, of course you have as well, of beautiful art or beautiful paintings.  I love to see the creativity as in video and also I see young people taking advantage of the resources here.  Like we have an intern named Jess who’s a wonderful singer.  She goes to the recording studio and she has laid down some amazing tracks there.  So, I’ve seen kids express their creativity in all kinds of different ways here.

I: [00:00:02:45]  What do you think REACH can do or their schools can do to better inspire your creativity?

KD: [00:00:02:54]  What do I think that they can do to inspire my creativity?

I: [00:00:02:58]  Yeah.

KD: [00:00:02:59]  Like REACH here?

I: [00:00:03:00]  Yeah.

KD: [00:00:03:00] I think it already does.  I mean you know like for me I’m here as a tutor so at specific times I have to be in a specific room, doing a specific thing so I don’t always have the option to get to do the fun art class or go to the fun… the library class or the book club.  I don’t always get to do the creative things that I want to do but I really couldn't sit here and complain and say REACH needs to give me more because this place as far as creativity has given me more that anything. 

I: [00:00:03:29]  What should the schools do to better inspire their students creativity?

KD: [00:00:03:33]  I would say definitely provide them options and I mean REACH is not a school but pretty much is in a lot of ways so I would love to see more schools incorporating a lot of the ideas that we have here at REACH.  I think that there should be a REACH in every city.  Something like it as least, you know so… for me I think that the more options we provide for young people, the more they are going to be able to express themselves because the truth is not everyones going to be a math genius.  Not everyone is going to be a scientist.  Not everyone is going to be in the STEM field but young people… [INTERRUPTION]

I: [00:00:04:11]  Alright.  So what can the schools do better inspire their students creativity?

KD: [00:00:04:16]  I would say definitely to give kids more options.  Every school should have a REACH within walking distance of it like (4:21Edendale ??) does.  So I think giving kids more options like to express themselves creatively but also as I was saying previously, not everyone is going to be a scientist.  Not everyone is going to be an engineer.  It’s really important that we give kids options to express themselves so that they can have career paths.  Provide for themselves even if they don’t fit into these often narrow parameters that school presents them.

I: [00:00:04:48]  What did you hope to accomplish when you decided to become a tutor? And do you think you were able to achieve this with the kids?

KD: [00:00:04:55]  I just… Build strong relationship.  You know, someone once told me that you can’t have any learning without strong relationships so I could be the smartest guy in the universe.  I could know everything about the subjects I want to teach but if I’m not a fun person or a nice person, or a kind person, these kids are not gonna want to be around me, period.  So it’s really important for me to establish those strong relationships cause once you do have those relationships that’s when the ffff… not the fun necessarily starts, but that’s when you learning starts.

I: [00:00:05:23]  Currently, What is your main goal at a tutor?

KD: [00:00:05:27]  My main goal is really to inspire young people.  Make them feel safe.  Make them feel love.  Make them feel cared for and make them feel like their valuable and they matter and that they have a friend.  If they have someone that makes them feel that way then their gonna learn.  Whatever they need, they’re gonna learn.  But as I was saying previously, if they don’t trust you, if they don’t like you; they’re probably not going to learn much.

I: [00:00:05:56]  What do you see as being the role of arts in educating the young people?

KD: [00:00:06:00]  I mean this sort of bleeds into what I was saying earlier but I think it’s so crucial.  I think, pretty much every study if you really look into it, as I have and a lot of people who work here, every study indicated if you give people extra curricular opportunities such as arts and sports and what not; they’re gonna perform well in other subjects as well.  So it’s crucial, no doubt.

I: [00:00:06:27]  When you’re helping these kids out do you ever use art like when you’re with them?  Do you ever do art with them?

KD: [00:00:06:26]  That’s a great question.  You know I primarily do english homework, history homework, sometimes a little bit of math.  That’s not my best subject but that’s a really great question.  I think sometimes we do showcase event here.  So we do a learning activity and I definitely find that, especially the kids these days they respond to like, you know beautiful images, video, something that looks like… If we can turn education into something that looks like a buzzfeed article or something you might read online it might be more accessible or exciting to them.  So, I definitely think it’s worth using elements of art as far as a teaching tool.

I: [00:00:07:13]  What gaps… So, when it comes to arts in school; what’s working?

KD: [00:00:07:24]  What’s working?  For me I work at REACH, so it’s a little bit different.  To be from my perspective everything is working here.  Everything should be like this so as far as a regular school I’m not as familiar but I think at least what I see here at REACH I see it working.

I: [00:00:07:50]  So, educating young people with art, like what gaps exist? What do they have?  Like what needs do these kids have?

KD: [00:00:07:59]  I think they just need to feel like they matter and what they do matters.  And if your someone like me who’s not very good at math and you try to do math you feel like you’re stupid.  You feel like you’re not good enough.  And if you don’t feel that way, if school makes you feel that way, as it often made me feel, that I was stupid and I wasn’t good enough.  I’m a very intelligent person but I’m not necessarily qualified when it comes to science or math or anything like that so if you’re good at art, you’re good at dance —Hey, that might make you feel good about yourself.” Maybe if you feel good about yourself, you’re probably even more likely to do well in a math class.  But if that’s the only option you have and you’re not good at those, you might not.

I:[00:00:08:40]  What do you think are some of the barriers and obstacles to this?

KD: [00:00:08:45]  Funding.  So I think you’re gonna find that a lot of these fundings are being cut, particularly not to politicize it but in the current administration I think that the current president wants to cut a lot of arts funding and humanities funding.  So I can definitely see that being an obstacle but school budgets are under siege and it had been for years.  They keep cutting the amount of money in education and the first thing that goes is often extra curricular activities if you really look into it.  So I certainly see that as a barrier.

I: [00:00:09:21]  What do you see the students learning?

KD: [00:00:09:24]  About themselves.  About what they’re good at.  How to express themselves and you know art can be utilized.  You don’t have to be selling paintings to be a successful person who utilizes art in your career you know.  You can do graphic design.  You could work for a rapper; design his CD case or you could work for a rapper and do his marketing.  Or you could work for, you know everybody needs some sort of graphic design or marketing or promotional.  When you do those things you want beautiful photographs, beautiful images; a painting a drawing.  So, those can really be used in practical career situations. 

I: [00:00:09:58]  What resources do you find valuable when it comes to this?

KD: [00:00:010:02]  The internet.  I think the internet is really useful when it comes to this and just like people who really care.  Like teaching artists for example… [INTERRUPTION]  Pause that.

I: [00:00:10:14]  I’m gonna have to repeat the question.  What resources do you find valuable?

KD: [00:00:10:18]  I would say the internet, Instagram, Tumblr,  whatever you want to call it.  There’s so many different ways to connect and put your art out there into the world. 

I: [00:00:10:32]  Do you believe our mission that by 2022 every child in Alameda country public schools is successfully engaged in creative and active learning both in and out of school in preparation for college career and community life?

KD:[00:00:10:46]  Oh, no doubt.  Not only do I believe in that mission but I would do whatever it takes to support that initiative.  I think that’s a brilliant idea.

I:[00:00:10:54]  Do you believe that the arts help prepare students for a better future?

KD: [00:00:10:57]  There’s no doubt about it and if you cut these fundings and if you prevent kids from getting these opportunities they will have a harder time at school.  There’s no question about it.

I: [00:00:11:08]  Alright.  Thank you.  That concludes this interview.