Updated: Jun 16, 2018
Formerly: Tutor, Nanny, English Teacher, High School Principal, Corporate Trainer
Currently: Dreamer, Consultant, Enjoyer of Taking Selfies in Museums
Grab a glass of wine & a seat on my porch. Let's talk. This is important.
(with a Pollock in New York)
Why this blog?
“The path of least resistance & least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.” -John Dewey
I don't know. Because the current state of education pisses me off. I LOVED teaching. I still LOVE learning. But the system is against us. Long hours grading, "rebellious" teenagers, overworked and undersupported teachers & administrators, helicopter parents -- it can burn you out. And, as always, the kids knew. So they checked out. Got mouthy. Which only played into the bleeping stereotypical adult/teenager dichotomy. Us versus them. I was sick of it.
So when I was a principal, we invited the students to share their voices. We dared them to make their own suggestions happen. In real life. We had a free pancake bar in the student center one day, an alumni basketball tournament, an all-student Honor Council that wasn't scared to tackle the tough decisions, an annual Art's Week, a controversial chapter of Gay/Straight Alliance, and a winning chapter of the Model United Nations. None of these existed at our school before and each was student initiated and led. When a group of boys came to my office & asked permission to set up a slack line in the quad after the Director of Operations forbade it, I didn't speak to my colleague on their behalf. I told them to email her to set up an appointment and include me in the Outlook calendar invitation. I gave them a deadline to send me a draft of their talking points and made them speak to her; I was a silent supporter. They had to prepare their argument for the safety of slack lines in public. They did. That year, the president of Student Council was elected on the promise that he would return paper towels (in addition to dryers) to every student bathroom. He got a standing ovation at his campaign speech. And he kept that campaign promise. For a minute it was magical.
Then I landed at an IT consulting firm, as a Corporate Consultant & Trainer. It was weird, going to an office where everyone keeps to their workstations and does their own isolated jobs. Interaction happened when you were on break, or offered to make a coffee run. Occasionally you'd Jabber someone with a good joke, but there was a palpable sense that money was the goal. Now, I realize that's what business is, but gross. My 20 year career had been based only on helping people grow. Compared to a high school, I found the corporate world quiet and lonely. But compared with other firms, ours was often fun and personal.
I soon found that the CEO, my beloved boss, shared some of my concerns. He told me that very soon, we would run out of American citizens who are qualified to write the code that big business is built upon. He said that many recent college graduates weren't ready to work in technology, or even business. They often didn't know how to attend a meeting, much less run a meeting. Perhaps worse, many of the experienced people who were qualified to work as Data Engineers or Security Analysts lacked the social skills to have a productive conversation with their clients. And he was worried about the increasing necessity of remote employees wilting the sense of community he had so carefully cultivated over the years.
I couldn't stop thinking that schools & school systems are in desperate need of funding for #SEL and IT skill instruction, and corporations are in desperate need of trained workers. Hmmm. "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter. You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!"
We've GOT to be able to design the Reese's cup of work and school. Otherwise, I'm just not sure what will happen. I should not have had culture shock moving from a school to a business four miles away. I'm sick of hearing about how "school needs to change" and never HOW. So I call upon the most innovative minds in education, business, and technology: Come and share ideas! Let's get the show on the road. If you're not quite ready to join the conversation, at least learn about the sphere you're not spending time in every day. If you're a student or a teacher, read up about corporations & business news. If you're a programmer or work in the business world, see what's happening in schools! Go visit each other, get to know what life is like on the other side. We go great together!
I'll try my best to provide easy ways for you to learn about each other here on the blog. We'll figure it out together.
To the future!