Jarritt A Sheel (Ivy League Here I Come..) ☆

| May 31, 2013
Thinking of a Master Plan #JarrittSheel

Thinking of a Master Plan


My name is Jarritt Ahmed Sheel. I was recently accepted into the EdM Music Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City (Upper West Side). I’m excited about, again, becoming part of something bigger than myself, something that will be life changing, a singularity in my career and very worthy of my full intellectual attention. Teachers College represents  an idea, the idea of change in America. It’s story, the college and its goal of progressive and last change in America, has inflamed my heart with a huge amount of love for the buildings and people that are associated with the name. This new journey in my academic and personal life is monumental and welcomed at this time. I am a music teacher of ensembles and history at the high school level and college, respectively. It has been my pleasure teaching young people to use the tools of music and art to better understand who they are in this great thing we call “Life.” I am a strong proponent of Critical Theory and the espousing of critical thinking is contained in every assignment I give inside or outside of my classroom. I am a mentor, a arts advocate, a social activist and child of God. I am a son, husband, grandson, nephew, son-in-law, and future father. I am a changer, a mover, a shaker.

I am an artist that uses the medium of music to create, express, impart and share culture and my experiences with the audience. I love learning and have dedicated my life to the continued search of knowledge of the world around me as well as, introspectively, myself. I have been forever changed by my experiences in the arts as well as my formal education in the arts. If it wasn’t for my music teacher, supportive parents and a variety of blessed opportunities I’ve had, I don’t know where I would be. I have traveled the world  performing with various bands and styles of music. I am  in love with aural activities like singing, listening and performing music. It has been my biggest challenge in life, to learn how to express. This is because learning how to express yourself should always follow the understanding of self. Only time and maturation helped the individual come to an understanding of who the self is, and its place in the order of life. These Critical Theory principles were instilled in me at a young age from the variety of awesome teachers, educators and mentors I had the extreme pleasure for working with or for, in my youth. I have had the pleasure of working with some awesome educators that I am proud to call colleagues. I have also had the displeasure of working with and even larger number of educators, instructors and teachers, of all sorts of topics,  that were not successful at on many levels, the art of teaching. I fell in love with the idea of training  teachers to work in the ever expanding concept of urban education and to recharge their batteries with theoretical and new pedagogical approaches to germane issues in education. This is what I was missing and needed very bad to experience. It would have to be a watershed moment in the development of my  intellectual prowess as well as my social acumen.

As my wife and I step across the threshold of several states (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey)  to dive head first into the interesting potpourri of new people, prejudices, linguistic cues, physical mannerisms and above all culture. The ivy league experience, is one that I am interested in learning more about and seeing how it turns out. I have not hedged a bet around “Heads or Tails?” yet. I expect it to be both a growing experience as well as a strenuous mental exercise for the years it takes me to achieve my PhD in Music Education from Teachers College. I can see the light of progress, that sometimes gets overshadowed by the difficulty to overcome a situation, but I have used my prior knowledge to overcome and subdue that heinous thing we all call “Fear.”  This next episode of the real life of Jarritt A Sheel, will star my family, my work and travels. I will continue to be encouraged through my readings, my faith in God, my belief in reason and the ability to argue logically with others about the direction that culture and society should go in. I am totally ready for change and to be a n agent of Change in American Education. Too long have I sat in the class room wondering who was in charge of creating these in-congruent policies and mandates at the state level. I am tired of being handcuffed by legislative indifference and executive privilege, that is so easily used, by the rich and influential.

There is a tag line that I use quite often as when referring to my musical career,”Be the change that you look for.” I use this quote all the time in reference to performing, composing, arranging, advocating and above all espousing principles and concepts. I have helped open up a door for young musicians in my area by creating a Youth Jazz Showcase called “Young Gunnz Jazz Showcase,” which has been going on since 2010 annually in and around  the Central Florida area. This event was created because I saw a disparity in the system, a break down in the mentorship process here in Orlando, FL. So, I thought critically and posited a solution through programming. I founded a jazz ensemble called the BLUTET that paid homage to the great groups of Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Benny Golson, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis and Roy Hargrove. I started a jazz summer camp at the college I was teaching at. I performed with tons of other artist in and around my area to help create lasting change in the artistic community. BUT… what I am remind of daily…is that change can only happen if it is wanted. I find that many communities all across America say they want change, but are really saying I want the same thing but need you to rearrange the issues a little bit to make me think it is different. Its an illusion and I am not one to stay delusional. I wear these glasses for more than the basic visual perception. They allow me to magically see the bull crap that happens often in life. I have to separate the accepted reality, from my personal take on reality. I’ve been reading all of these interesting philosophers and public intellects such as Cornell West, Stephen Brookfield, Hegel, Plato, Socrates, Kant, and the list goes on. Each one speaks a little more eloquently and from their specific point of perception on the topic of reality , democracy and the implications of the arguments (dialectical in nature) that we all use to shape our existence. What are the principles and concepts that will push us together toward or away from a shared and common goal of success. I had to leave Orlando, Fl.. at least that is what I am saying to myself to move forward in this process. I needed to remove myself from a situation in which the shared perception of reality was and still remains no where in the proximity of my reality. My reality is one in which any question or answer is possible. I’m an optimist, with the rationale of a pessimist. My attending Columbia University and specifically Teachers College represents a reboot, so to speak, of my learning habits and my efficient use of the dialectal arguments or logic and reason, and how I can effectively use these tools in changing the world for the better.

I look forward to seeing how interesting these journal entries turn out in the near future, and I wonder who will be reading them.


Jarritt A Sheel