Woody Harper started substitute teaching one Summer a few years ago. His authentic and joyful approach to darned near everything coupled with an intuition for human nature made him delightfully magnetic and remarkably effective with young children. Over the years he’s shared his musical gifts, theatrical sensibilities and complete lack of shame with a bunch of kids who will never forget him. (As an editorial note – I’d like to say that while he claims the Harlem Globetrotters as his team, anyone who knows him knows he bleeds the black & orange.)
What or who was your inspiration for working with young children?
“I have always had a knack for connecting with kids. For years I was just working joe-jobs that were not at all fulfilling. I found my way to teaching and it has made the most impact on my personal and global growth. I feel proud of doing something meaningful and worthwhile.”
If money was no object – what would your dream life look like?
“A never ending life of adventure. Traveling forever.”
What is your unique gift?
“Of the many that I have??! My rackish sense of style I suppose.”
“That one moment when one finds themselves completely present with their thoughts. And then…..When everyone is suddenly coming at you at once – and you instantly lose that perfect focus.”
What was a “magic” moment for you as a teacher?
“Spontaneously collaborating to write a complete song with a group of kids. “The Bacon Song” may be my finest hour.”
“Connections! Seriously – if you want to be the best, work with the best.”
What gets you up and out on those cold dark mornings?
“The bright and shiny faces I see on the 14 Mission every morning.”
What are your favorite books: kid’s and adult.
“The Beginning of Armadillos by Rudyard Kipling
Women by Charles Bukowski”
What is one thing you’d really want to have with you on a deserted island?
“Being a free-lance, free-range rock star.”
Your favorite guilty pleasure?
“I don’t feel guilty about any of them.”
Sports teams you root for?
“The Harlem Globetrotters – they never disappoint.”