On Monday, Kelli Marshall mentioned about.me in her article in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “How to Curate Your Digital Identity as an Academic“. In it she emphasized the importance to educators of managing their online reputations and identities and ways to do that.
Today we’re pleased to present our in depth interview with high school educator, E. Delfin. We are excited to have had the chance to speak with him about who he is and how he uses about.me to manage his personal and professional identity online.
Currently an English teacher at Arcadia High School in Los Angeles County, Mr. Delfin still remembers when he first fell in love with literature as a teenager. It happened as he was reading “Shooting An Elephant” by George Orwell and to this day he still calls it “the most poignant piece of writing I can think of.”
But even before his love of literature blossomed, Mr. Delfin had a love for hip-hop music. Describing it as always a part of his life, he was first introduced to DJ turntables in 7th grade. Soon after, he bought his first DJ set and began DJing at his middle school dances with the few records and CDs he had. His earliest clients were his friend’s families but grew overtime to include clients from Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County, and San Diego.
While he still DJ’s on the side (that’s one of his recordings above), Mr. Delfin also finds ways to bring his love for music and hip hop into the 9th grade English classes he teaches. In one of his favorite lessons he compared Hamlet to the modern tragic heroes portrayed in rapper Kendrick Lamar’s album, Good Kid m.a.a.d City and The Roots’s concept album, undun.
Always artistic, his current best friends, a tattoo artist, a graphic designer, and an architect, have inspired him to tap into other artistic outlets, like painting. And so Mr. Delfin has begun to incorporate his newfound love of painting into his classroom as well as the classrooms of his fellow educators. While teaching at Fountain Valley High School, he was commissioned to paint the podiums of six different teachers, covering them with everything from Audrey Hepburn posters to The Giving Tree and The Smiths.
Now, at his current school, he’s working on something he calls a Music Monday Mural. That means every Monday he gives his classes a song to analyze and showcases the artists they study in a hallway mural. He’s started off with Debbie Harry, Sade, and Lana Del Rey and has plans to add more as the year progresses.
Like his artist friends, Mr. Delfin says he hopes to someday also dedicate his life and career to art while continuing to be a teacher. “I’m thinking about pursuing a Master’s degree in Art History and/or add a credential to teach Art in the future.”
No doubt taking up this path would be a boon to the students who already benefit from his love for his job. One where Mr. Delfin gets to be himself, bridging his passion for music, art and literature, with his lessons that teach students to think critically and independently.
How did you hear of about.me and what made you sign up for it?
My friend is very active in the online educator community and suggested I create a page to showcase my talents. I immediately fell in love with about.me’s aesthetic. It’s engaging, customizable, and intuitive.
What’s your favorite feature on the platform?
I really like how visual everything is. The strongest pages have something visually appealing whether it’s the main picture or the way they chose to present their information. about.me has a special way of making a high school student look as professional as a CEO of a billion dollar company through the platform. I was really excited to put my about.me url on my resume hoping potential employers would be able to see a realistic glance at who I am outside of the 10-15 minute interview.
How are you using the platform in other digital mediums?
I currently have a link on my school e-mail signature, teacher tumblr, and my school fusion page. The school fusion page isn’t as intuitive and aesthetically pleasing as I would like it to be so I just put a BIG link to my about.me page.
Have you used about.me to connect with others on the platform?
I definitely used about.me to connect with other educators over the summer. It is incredibly engaging to actually see what a person has done in the past and what that person’s goals are. I definitely see a lot more connections happening when I decide to pursue art in some capacity.
Eliana Arredondo is the Community Manager for about.me. She is a graduate of Stanford University.