I envision a world in which every student receives an empowering education that promotes critical thinking and 21st century skills.
I envision a world in which every child’s holistic development is nurtured, and public school curricula include social and emotional skills as well as traditional academic skills. Conflict resolution, communication, cooperation, collaboration and creative thinking are crucial skills for the next generation to help address the challenges of the 21st century. As a teacher working with children from marginalized communities, I aim to bring transformative education to all students by decreasing the digital divide and creating space for the cultural inheritance of each child to be leveraged for learning and engagement in the classroom. Sharing my love of writing and digital storytelling with students brings me great joy, and can open a world of new possibilities for students too often denied creative outlets or access to technology. In the Information Age, media production and analysis is as crucial as basic literacy was for life in the Industrial Age. Through integrating media arts and technology into every classroom, we can provide children with the tools of self-representation and the ability to share their lives with a real audience. This can transform the experience of school from a site of control to a site of freedom, from a requirement to a pleasure.
My mission as a transformative educator, as a filmmaker, poet, community organizer, and social justice advocate is to be the change I wish to see. This means teaching as if school is already a space for creative self-expression, student-led inquiry, and holistic wellness. With this approach, students are able to lower their guards, which have developed as a resistance to the mechanisms of control and repression that so often sour the learning experience. When educators show a consistent, genuine interest in the thoughts, feelings, theories, interests and development of each individual, students become engaged in learning as they follow their own desires for knowledge wherever it may lead. Often this innate drive leads students towards the technology and creative self-expression I help facilitate in the classroom, and often the behavioral changes I witness in students are as dramatic as their academic growth.
My life’s work is to teach other educators how to create a safe space in their classrooms, how to structure their curricula to allow for creativity and self-guided learning within the confines of the public school system, and to help students and teachers alike envision the infinite possibilities for holistic education in our public schools. I aim to prime children to become life-long learners and educators. I am inspired by the work of Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Abraham Maslow, Jonathan Kozol, and Augusto Boal, and organizations such as Inner-City Arts, Streetside Stories, REACH LA, Educational Video Center, and ImMEDIAte Justice.