Monday, October 29, 2012

Residency Part III: LA Bustle

Yes the traffic of LA traffic is certainly true, but so is the beautiful weather, bountiful palm trees, and delicious fruits/veggies (read; AVOCADOS!!!). This past week has been amazing, especially from a teaching perspective! HOLA has some incredible teachers who truly develop the children holistically, strive for self-efficacy, and have dynamite classroom management. It's been a lot of fun too to rediscover my percussion skills-I taught a girl how to drumroll-and I have played viola in the orchestra several days this week. My alto clef reading is seriously fuzzy!

The two fellows out here, Dan and Christine, work so hard, but they more than accommodated us into their schedules and I also had some very productive meetings with the head of Ed at LA Phil and the senior grantwriter as well as a researcher at the Brain and Creativity Institute doing longitudinal research with them and the head of community and government affairs. After an absolutely phenomenal performance with the LA Phil, Erik asked me, "What is more certain?" and I think ironically the only thing that is more certain, is the constant inquiry and lack of never arriving at a certain destination i.e. nothing is more certain than the fact that there is nothing certain. That things develop organically and change is always possible.

Something I learned about Venezuela is that despite the majority of funding coming from government at the national, regional, and local level, they are mainly responsible for the  HR of a program. A program in Guarico still had 25 other financial sponsors on their calendar. So the scapegoat of "well in Venezuela the government pays for it," isn't exactly what it seems.

I've also noticed the value of having a diverse staff. While my initial thought was,'This is the 21st century, why should we encourage not being colorblind,' I didn't realize that the parents of these children did grow up during the Civil Rights Movement and we need to be sensitive to this.

in contrast to SDYS, everything was done in a single nucleo site due to multiple factors. One being the turnover at schools. If the principal leaves that was backing your program, then what? The scale of LAUSD and the fact that if the parents have to enroll their kids outside of school, it mandates a higher level of parent and family responsibility and thus is more likely to have parents involved. Interesting. It also gave them a chance to create a new culture and not have to mold themselves to the school culture.

Some moments I will remember from the week:

*the encouraged self-efficacy teaching and exceptional teaching in general
*Homeboy Industries (see blog post above)
*LA Phil concert of Mahler 5, need I say more?
*Harmony Project's Dream center where there were mentor/mentee private lessons going on everywhere I looked from the nursery to the stairwell to the hallway to the water fountain!
*A 2.5 hr dinner with Margaret Martin where I didn't once put down my pen. Important lesson was US citizens spend money on their safety and if you use this as a way to prevent violence, gang or otherwise, funding will come, regardless of political alignment
*Cultures of different sized organizations and wordsmithing to audience
*Boundaries and always going into something with an idea compared to a blank slate
*"Do only that which you can do." The work will never stop so set that and trust others

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