For example Tanya* who is nine, is one of the more challenging students, she doesn't have a very positive attitude and tries to avoid participating whenever possible. While filming Tanya’s clip we had a chance to talk and get to know each other better, I learned that she lives with her mom who is 33, her two sisters (14, 17), and her niece who is 1 and is her 17 year old sisters child, all in a two bedroom apartment. She said she doesn't see or speak to her dad very often. I shared with her that my parents are also divorced. We talked about how she felt about her sister having a baby so young, she told me that she thought it was dumb because the baby cries all of the time and now her mom has to spend all of her money on the baby.
While we were talking she pulled out a big pack of bubble gum from her pocket, I asked her who bought that for her and she told me that she stole it. Surprisingly she was not ashamed, she was almost proud of herself. I explained that even if other’s say it is ok, it’s still against the law and she could go to juvenile hall, she said “good I don’t care.” Her reaction took me back for a second but then I remember that she had mentioned previously that she wanted to be a police officer. I then explained to her that if she ever wanted to be a police officer that she had to have a clean record which means no trips to juvenile hall. I told her that every time she stole she was risking her chances of being a police officer for a little candy or a pack of gum. It seemed like she was really listening and my logic was sinking in. I ended with letting her know what a great police officer I think she would make because I have seen the way the other kids listen and look up to her.
Our conversation was definitely an “ah ha” moment for me, I realized that many of these kids may not be getting the good examples they need to be successful at home, and that through La Clase Magica they are getting positive adult examples in their lives that they may otherwise never receive. Although we are there to teach the kids, a huge part of what we are doing is just being good friends and role models to the children. I have realized that the seeds we are planting in their minds now, essentially have the power to shape the decisions they make and the people they become.
Victoria Gerena, undergraduate UCSD, Los Robles