We had an amazing week with Lorrie Heagy, a Fellow from
the first year of the Program who founded Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM). She is an
incredible educator and just a really awesome person. I have learnt SO much
this past week about teaching, and have begun to understand how, at the highest
level, it truly is an art form!
Lorrie was magic in the classroom. She commanded the attention of every child throughout the lesson, she gave so much thought into every single aspect of the class and she even made abstract concepts like musical notation and learning how to hold the bow totally engaging and so much fun, just to name a few!
After spending the past three weeks discussing concepts and ideas, it was a real change of scene finding myself in a classroom filled with twenty 4-year-olds. They are so cute! Some of the fellows who are teachers felt very at home and energized by the children! For the rest of us…. Oh. My. It was a real eye opener! I have a renewed admiration for all teachers out there.
The one thing I realized from this week is the vital role a teacher plays in shaping a child’s life. No matter how well you plan your organization, or craft the most beautiful mission and vision statement, at the end of the day, the teachers are the ones who spend all those hours with the children and it is their influence and modeling that can effect social change. As Eric Booth loves to say, you are 80% of what you teach.
Before I started the Fellowship, I had the naïve notion that if I just placed a couple of musicians in front of a bunch of kids, I would create social change.
My current self is amused by my idealism and foolishness. Of course, I knew there were a couple of missing steps in between but I had no idea what I didn’t know nor any of skills I needed to carry that out. I know I say this in every post, but I am just so incredibly thankful to be in this fellowship. I have had the chance to meet the most inspiring people, people who are so generous with their knowledge and time, who absolutely love what they do and derive their happiness from the service of others. People who are at the top of their respective fields (in education, research, leadership, arts consulting (in the past four weeks!) whose insights are laying a really thin, but very broad and sturdy foundation for us to have a good attempt at creating meaningful change in this difficult field. Sure, the execution will be a whole new ball game, but just having all that behind you and having this year as a safe space in which to stretch ourselves (little by little, applying the concept of scaffolding) to become better versions of ourselves, and of course to be better equipped to support this cause in our unique way.
Beverly Hiong, Sistema Fellow '14