Shortly before Winter Break, my assistant principal approached me about teaching electives in Semester 2. Not only did this opportunity give me a chance to have more face time with my students, but it also gave me the challenge of figuring out WHAT I was going to teach and HOW I was going to do it. Within about an hour after that conversation, I asked to run something by her. I decided I wanted to teach an elective on Hip Hop - but it won't just be about performance, it will give the students a foundation of where Hip Hop began and explore how it got to where it is now. I got the greenlight.
"Will they like it?" "How am I going to make this interesting for middle schoolers?" "I don't want to sound like I'm preaching." "I don't want to sound...OLD."
For the first time in quite a long time, I was nervous. So how did I respond? I talked to my colleagues and I watched/read the news. My colleagues seemed more excited about the Hip Hop class than the students. Through my conversations with them, my creative juices of what I will teach and how started flowing. Ideas of beat making, annotating rap lyrics, etc. all started to turn my anxiety to excitement. Watching/reading the news (particularly news from the United States) fueled my inspiration for the students to explore how external factors such as poverty, racism, disenfranchisement can manifest into a whole culture known as Hip Hop.
— Carlos Galvez (@clos_gm) January 25, 2017
My goals became quite clear:
- Exploring the foundations of Hip Hop gives them cultural context of not just the music, but also the sociopolitical factors that resulted in the artform.
- Learning by doing makes it FUN and complements our inquiry-based curriculum. We were going to explore the 4 Elements of Hip Hop Culture: MCing, Grafitti, DJing, and Bboying through experimentation and research.
- Lastly, outside of teaching/counseling - music is a passion of mine and Hip Hop culture is a huge part of who I am. This class is a great opportunity to model for my students how to take something your passionate about and challenge yourself to use it in different ways.
We've only just finished the 2nd week of electives and already as my students and I warm up to each other, my pre-class jitters are slowly starting to go away. When you let the internal mind chatter quiet down and you look at what's right in front of you, you will often see that "the work" isn't so difficult after all.