A Small Manifesto
Why —when Life and Work are awesome things that people have, and continue to have, a lot to say about— isn't school awesome?
Too often, School seems to miss the awe part. Instead, it can be downright awful.
How often do we hear the young people in our lives really excited about what they're doing at school? Gushing over a project or a book, or caught by an idea that's setting off fireworks in their brains?
How often do they have the leeway to explore something that catches them in depth, to ask questions that won't be on the test, or maybe meet someone else who's really into the same things they're curious about?
We more often hear about so much trudgery, menial tasks, dates and facts without context, and just so many steps along a path they don't really understand or think will ever be relevant. And today it's unclear that these are the surefire steps that will lead to gainful employment, career stability, and a good life.
So many kids tune out School, go along to get along, and feel disconnected from their interests.
But heavy-lidded eyes and mumbling speech is not youth's birthright!
We are living in vivid times with unprecedented access to information and opportunity and so much of School fails to accommodate this. The factory model of education continues while people still make for ill-fitting cogs.
We need more people switched on sooner to help with the very real challenges and opportunities of the present day. We need every one of us firing on all cylinders, and after 4 years of classroom experience in K-12 I am convinced that School as we know it is disengaging young people from their best selves. We hear there's just no time for soft skills and developing other talents because, “SOLs!”
and while I was fortunate to have some awesome, switched on teachers,
Education needs to go from onus to awesome.
To create authentic people requires enthusiasm, time, and attention. I am happy to share my enthusiasm, experience, and attention to help develop authentic people and I am looking for students. If you're in Blacksburg, or Southside, VA, or the Research Triangle of NC, contact me for details.
I focus learning activities around 3 things:
drawing and photography - observing the world, reacting to it, and paying attention are skills developed through drawing, sketching,and art-making.
travel - whether it's to the local farmer, a creative professional (sometimes via Skype), or a regional museum, kids are awash in information through media like television and the web, but those things exist outside of context until they experience it directly. taking the time to follow something is invaluable.
For more information about and FREE lesson plans and ideas, check out my edublog at www.
Art and Creativity
At its core Art is a skill about attention and communication. I've been an Art Director, a Creative Director, freelance designer, Multimedia, Computer Graphics, and Creative Thinking instructor, and a Design curriculum coordinator. I'm also a decent illustrator in my own right. Developing portfolio pieces to opening doors and networking. Museum visits. Sketch destinations. I help students make connections through my network.
Travel and Experience
“The world is a book and those who don't travel read only one page.”
Introducing students to creative professionals in my network is one of greatest pleasures! Be it in person or online, together we've visited Google's offices in Chelsea, Etsy's offices in Brooklyn, the Martin Agency in Richmond, and museums and galleries in between. Travel and personal relationships open many doors for eager young professionals, and there are so many great resources within Virginia and North Carolina alone! I am happy to help make connections and expand horizons.
Health and Nature
We are not always encouraged to cultivate knowledge and enthusiasm for the natural world –too often we only hear about another way it's been broken— but it is deeply rewarding and informative. Horticulture and kitchen skills can come together to create a fuller picture of life and health. Cooking is a joyful celebration of life and sharing; microwaving a hot pocket is not. In 2014 I'm studying Child Nutrition & Cooking through Stanford online and am eager to share!