TEACHING UNDERSERVED TEENS with MURAL ARTS + SCRATCH ACADEMY

They always say “teach what you love”, so I couldn’t be more excited than to have this new opportunity to work with underserved teens in North Philly. After recently volunteering with the Mural Arts’ Restorative Justice program, I was asked to become a payed instructor to teach kids music and DJing. This teaching position is 2 fold in that I’m learning just as much as I’m teaching. I personally love learning and am motivated by the idea that we can influence one another in very powerful, yet simple ways.  Thankfully my DJ profession has taught me how to engage people in different ways, and to use music to bridge gaps between age, race, and social status. However I must admit that this opportunity is no walk in the park. Many of these kids are enrolled in our program through court order or from an administrators request, so I must find new and unique ways to engage and excite these kids every time they walk through the door. Equally important to the music and craft that I’m teaching is the idea of entrepreneurship so that they can take something they love and possibly profit from it. Some of the kids have no interest whatsoever and would rather scroll through instagram pics while other kids have shown pure excitement once they realize their creative potential. Because I came in at the tail end of their semester, I only have a few weeks left with these students. This program isn’t about creating the next DJ superstar, it’s about unleashing their thoughts and feelings through music. I’m hoping this opportunity will provide a solid benchmark for me to learn and grow as a teacher, mentor, and human being.