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Lessons Learned

I only lasted one year as a teacher. I had entertained the possibility of teaching ever since 8yr old me had mistakenly assumed my mother’s classroom was a monarchy. For a few weeks I had mentally planned how I would take over when she retired, and the knowledge that I was not predestined to become a middle school special education teacher both relieved and disappointed me. But when I entered the classroom myself, I quickly discovered a world of discipline-happy teachers, irrational rules, and bored, angry students. I didn’t last long.

I still struggle with having made that decision. I love UX design in part because we find ways of teaching without the rules of the traditional classroom. And I love volunteering with Atlas Workshops, because I get to meet and travel with students, and teach them outside those traditional confines. I’ve had some particularly inspiring and some particularly challenging experiences over the years, to the point that I now feel comfortable sharing recommendations for teaching the design process. Continue Reading

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Trust the Chaos

“Trust the people
Trust the process
Trust yourself
Trust chaos”
Terry Mazany, 1994

My first experience with the business world was joining my father in staff development workshops. As an education consultant – and a fierce opponent of lectures – he excelled at bringing together teachers and administrators and guiding them to new ideas. Back in the 60s, teaching in his own classroom, he had often been admonished by other teachers for not “controlling” the students, or having a “rowdy” classroom. But from my father’s perspective, it was that very noisiness that signaled to him that students were discussing, probing, asking questions, and in short, learning. Continue Reading