29.3.11

My Teaching/Learning Memories





I started teaching in 2002 I believe. As a volunteer first, then as a paid instructor. It was two of my high school teachers, Mr. Hodari Davis and Ms Julia Luna that gave me my first shot. I haven't really stopped teaching since then, I've taken breaks though. I've taught all over the Bay Area (Richmond, Pinole, Berkeley, Oakland, SF, Palo Alto, San Rafael)and when i moved to Brooklyn NY I had the chance to teach in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Working with Trust Your Struggle (amazing educators/artists) Ive done workshops in other states too like Connecticut, Massachusetts, Arizona, and more I'm forgetting.

I've worked with small classes and small organizations, and huge classrooms and huge organizations. All different races and ages. Beautiful classrooms and stuffy basements. Thousands of kids, so many lessons learned from each of them. All the energy, frustration, curiosity,rebelliousness, slang, and wisdom they give when you share time with them has made me who I am. Its made me a better artist, a better man, and a better father. Don't get me wrong there have been some kids I've had to exercise super patience with. But those were usually the ones who needed to feel acceptance and love the most.

In the past two years I've pulled back from teaching greatly.I've worked with some really great teachers, artists, and coordinators.But none of them could mask the feeling that I was not reaching my students. There are times when I wished I could take my kids out of the school completely. Sometimes the system in which we as educators are working in is archaic, brutal, toxic, and poisonous. The kids are hyper intelligent, and they sense it. Sometimes I get the feeling that they've seen me the same way I see the system of public education. One which used to have countless classes in cooking, musical instrumentation, and art. All of them were gutted, cut, or eliminated from East Oakland to the South Bronx. Why? When you take away a human's ability to express themselves a whole array of shit happens to them psychologically and culturally. Mix that with outright lies about our history and who we are, and you've got a bomb ready to explode.

Anyway, I won't go into a deep discussion about the factory of public education or how the US Government views its working class, poor, shit even some middle class people. It's a forever changing puzzle. Sometimes obvious, and completely mind boggling at others. What i will say is this. After turning down several offers to teach last year, I'm taking up my dry erase marker and hand written agenda's again. Not only that, I would like to work with some educators who are down to flip the script. Check out some of these memories from teaching the babies, mine and yours. Much respect to all the educators out there. Don't matter if you wear sneakers or a tie, you are touching someone's life when you teach what you know, and allow them to do the same to you. Love and light.

9 comments:

O.M. (Shola) Ajayi said...

Such an important and awesome post Robert! Thanks for writing this - I know a lot of people will feel and appreciate this post!

Robert Trujillo/Tres said...

Thank you Shola. I know you feel me-being the extraordinary Teaching Artist that you are! Love and light!!

Charlotte Cheng said...

I hear you Robert, being a former teacher myself. I think the important message of your entry is that every child--and I do mean every child--needs avenues to express him or herself in an authentic way, to feel validated and important in his or her community. I know, big words, but a girl can dream right? :P

paintgurl40 said...

LOVE THIS POST ROB! I enjoyed reading this post. nobody wants to admit that the government treats us poor like shit, and the middle class is slowly becoming the lower class. now there is only the "have" and "have nots". i could go on and on, but i'll just leave it at that.

Robert Trujillo/Tres said...

Most definitely, youre right Charlotte. They do!! And they need career development once they decide how they will express themselves. What grades did you teach?

Robert Trujillo/Tres said...

Paintergurl, you said it. If the numbers were presented by themselves folks would see how much is spent on defense vs education.And are they defending us, or their ultra rich elites? Its crazy, but believe it or not, their system is falling apart!

paintgurl40 said...

the government will always have it's own agenda....and it ain't about protecting the poor.

Robert Trujillo/Tres said...

You hit it on the head homie!Most definitely. I think people are slowly waking up though!

paintgurl40 said...

only because current events are affecting the MIDDLE CLASS now. but back to education, i don't have children, but i remember "back in my day" (LOL) we had art, music and home ec. matter of fact i took all those types of classes. yeah you're right, kids need an outlet to express themselves...it sure helped me!