February 28, 2011

Transitional Moments

As a teacher, you live for the transitional moments when students evolve. Today I was lucky enough to experience three such moments. My teaching days on Mondays run from 8am to 7:45pm and the traditional moments were perfectly spaced throughout my day.

The first moment was at the end of my morning class when just one of the students and I were still in the room packing up our belongings. The student said to me, "you know what, I like what we are discussing. Next quarter I graduate and I would like to pursue this as a job focus." Wow! Fantastic! During the class I noticed that the student was catching on to the concepts and presenting some very sophisticated ideas. I told the student I had noticed this and their eyes lit up.

The next transitional moment occurred on the elevator between classes when I ran into a student from a previous quarter. This student told me that they had figured out how to balance their workload and get A's. Three classes was the perfect balance and they had recognized what work with that mix and were trying to increase their load to four classes with all A's. "I'm keeping my eye on the end goal" said the student - we had discussed goals in their class.

My evening class had the third transitional moment. A student with a big personality had been wavering between adding to and distracting (as well as detracting) from the class with their powerful presence. I talked to the student before class and said, "you are a leader in this class and set the tone. How can we use your powers for good?" The student came up with some ideas and in class they demonstrated their positive leadership. Other students who were on the fence responded to the this student's new focus and were also more engaged.

For me, these interactions were also learning experiences. I am recognizing when to step in, step back and step aside. Perhaps this an evolution of my work as a teacher. Confrontation is not easy for me and I believe that I embraced my personal values of open-heartedness and helping people reach their dreams to be successful. Plus, I found my grounding.

Every day is a learning experience as a teacher.

Yummy Lunch

I've made a chicken stew with a new secret ingredient - hominy beans. But now that I'm looking up what hominy beans are I will not use them again - corn treated with lye.

February 26, 2011

Reflection on Learning

My virtual online doctoral class stepped into the real classroom this weekend when I joined my seven classmates at school in Alameda all day Saturday and Sunday. These are fantastic people who have interesting areas of potential research. The first time we met, back in January, we had an informed discussion about uprisings in Egypt and several of my classmates had actually lived there. Hearing first hand from the challenges and opportunities of life in the Middle East was inspirational. I was able take the experience back to my classroom on Monday and help my students in Executive Leadership contextualize the revolution.

Our final class paper is a reflection on our learning in this course. For the past six weeks this course has encouraged me to reflect on my pursuit of a doctorate. Why am I compelled to earn this degree? What I realized is that although I am passionate about developing team leadership in creative enterprises, I have discovered that I am a “do-er” as opposed to a researcher.  

Ironically, my Professor just said to the class that Amy’s research study focus is so clear and she knows what she is talking about, that it will probably not change over the next few years. What I need to do is pursue my area of interest but in a way that fits into my lifestyle – doing as opposed to researching.

Here’s my area of interest:

What is going on that is causing me to do research?

Problem Statement:
Creative teams require effective leadership in order to be able to accomplish both artistic and business goals.  

What do I want to know from conducting this research?

Purpose Statement:
Identify effective leadership practices that support creative teams in accomplishing both artistic and business goals.

A1: There are effective team leadership practices.

A2: Creative teams require effective leadership to accomplish both business and artistic goals.

Research Questions
RQ1: What are the leadership practices that will be effective for creative teams to reach both artistic and business goals?

RQ2:  Are effective creative team leadership practices identical for reaching both artistic and business goals?

RQ3: What are the constructs of effective leadership in creative business teams?

February 24, 2011

Down Dog View of San Francisco

Let the weekend begin! I am done with teaching and am celebrating with a down dog yoga pose in the faculty workroom looking up Market Street - or is it looking upside down? You decide. Note the funky all weather boots.

February 20, 2011

Yerba Buena at Night

Beautiful and peaceful with its waterfalls in the middle of San Francisco. Heading over to see Robert Moses Kin.

He Needed Continuous Water Going Over the Stones of His Mind

A fantastic quote describing artist Edward Gorey's need for a flow of information including soap operas, movies, books, and sitcoms.

February 19, 2011

Have I Become Liz Lemon?

The latest episode of 30 Rock, It's Never Too Late For Now had me looking at myself in the mirror and saying, "Oh No, am I Liz Lemon?" In this episode Liz gives up on love and moves into spinsterhood. She adopts a cat, watches bad TV, wears a fanny pack, hooded sweatshirt, uggs, and keeps her hair in place with a cheesy banana clip. Today I have my hair up in a cheesy hair clip and am wearing a pink hooded sweatshirt and ugg-like boots. Thankfully I do not have a cat and am not wearing a fanny pack but it is only 2:37pm and I have time to make a few purchases. Why am I even watching Hulu at 2:37pm on a Saturday?

As soon as I recognized the uncanny similarities, I removed the hair clip and in the future will do my best not to wear one. However, I am keeping the sweatshirt and boots on because, well, it is Saturday and I am cold. Oh goodness, very not sexy but very Liz Lemony of me.

February 18, 2011

Etheopian Dinner

My neighbors Kaeb and Shamita made me an amazing Etheopian dinner!

Hot tubbing with Leah

Leah and I are starting a new tradition of Restorative Fridays - very California of us. Today we took a restorative slow flow yoga class at Piedmont Yoga Studio and then went to Piedmont Springs for outdoor hot tubbing. For me this was preceded and followed by naps. Now this is what I call balance.

February 16, 2011

Gleeful Gleek

My new secret addiction is Glee. If only, when I was a geek in high school, had I been able to sing and hang out with hot guys like Puckerman. Oh wait, I did play field hockey, compete in track and have a fab boyfriend. We just didn't sing - but we did cook! Is that even geekier?

Wicked Grounds

San francisco's leather district is filled with all kinds of surprises such as this 18+ over coffee shop. Imagine what lurks beneath the foam.

February 15, 2011

Crab Feast

My cousins Michael, Carma and Julie just spoiled me with a crab feast. These were the biggest, most delicious crabs - 2 lbs each. I think this is the tail end of the San Francisco crab season. Why did I wait so long to indulge?

February 11, 2011

My Grammie's Grin and Tonic

When skyping with my family, my extreme extroversion blossoms and I start working myself into a goofy frenzy. My family laughs, which makes me even goofier and then my dad starts mimicking my silly expressions, which pushes me over the edge of silliness. But you know what really pushes me into this state of goofy-silly? It is the skype video image that I can see of myself. I start hamming it up for me and it becomes a slippery slope.

The good news is that my Grammie, who is often on the skype calls, gives me a really big smile. When a 94-year-old zen master (or is it mistress) like my Grammie smiles, it warms my heart. Today she said I was her tonic and that she can't believe the noises I make. This is something that has been pointed out repeatedly to me this week. Apparently one of most endearing characteristics is my goofy noise-making.

This of course encouraged me to share drunken tales of Gin and Tonic, which when you're 41, on the edge of 42, isn't scandalous when talking to your parents and grandmother.

I aspire to be my Grammie's Grin and Tonic.

February 10, 2011

Will You Be My Dance Partner?

Hisun and I took another Salsa lesson this evening at the Lake Merritt Dance Center. Two weeks in a row now, when we break into partners, everyone finds a partner but no one seems to want to be mine. Either I'm incredibly intimidating, don't stand out, give off a funky vibe or am in the wrong place at the wrong time. It isn't a huge deal since we continuously switch partners, but it does have me asking, "what's the deal?" Well, I'm having fun regardless.

February 9, 2011

Wake Up! That's Not My Job

The combination of watching Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and teaching in a Culinary Institute are resulting in flashback dreams to being a waitress. Last night I had several frustrating dreams in which I was thrown back into my summers home from college waitressing position at Brock's Restaurant in Stamford. Although in real life I loved this job, and believe that I did it well, in my dream I had forgotten my training and didn't have enough menus. Customers were totally frustrated because I wasn't taking their orders and when I did, I couldn't remember how to submit them to the kitchen.

Suddenly, mid-disaster I realized this was just a dream and that I could wake up. What a relief to get out of that situation.

I have an interesting "stress tell" like people have their "poker face reveal" which is that I sneeze twice. Just writing this post, as I sit on BART commuting to school, I had my two sneezes. Clearly, this was a stressful flashback. What's next, Photolab customer service nightmares? I would probably need to teach photography to have those.

February 5, 2011

My Cousin Diana - Community Builder

This afternoon I was at my cousin Diana's house and she has a magical way of instantly creating community amongst her diverse friends. We played Werewolf, Diana's new most-favorite game, and within an hour the guests were building alliances and killing each other off.

With that said, it may seem sarcastic for me to say that Diana is a community builder. However, despite the potential darkness of this game, she manages to create an environment of love and trust. Diana loves games and her friends and neighbors eagerly attend her parties to experience her latest fun adventure. There is something about her that opens people up to creativity, letting go and being open-hearted.

Diana and I have been close for about 15 years, ever since I first moved to the Bay Area. We didn't know each other growing up, even though we lived quite close. But now she is one of the most important and influential people in my life and each time I visit her home, I feel so loved by her community.

February 4, 2011

Winter in San Francisco

Well, blue sky, warm and on the beach blow the Golden Gate Bridge. Apologies to the rest of the country.

February 3, 2011

Salsa Class!

Hisun and I signed up for Salsa lessons with "Juan" at the Lake Merritt Dance Center in Oakland. Soon this empty dance floor will be filled with aspiring dancers.

February 1, 2011

Getting Ready to Glaze Ceramics

Urban Graffiti

Check out this cool urban graffiti on the sidewalk in front of California College of Arts (and Crafts)'s Oakland campus by streetcolor.wordpress.com. Reminds me of Houston living.