The How

[Editor’s Note: This post follows on a series that began here ]

So, how do we go from “clueless” to “clued in”?

Unfortunately, thirty years after my less than circuitous journey to my career destination, I still hear the same thing from students in my community (and probably yours too). There are essentially four jobs: teacher, nurse, doctor, and lawyer. This though we are on the cusp of a complete sea change in terms of jobs and our economy.

Could it be, at least in part, because teachers, or those we task on the front lines of helping direct education and career preparation, have gone straight from school to college and back to school? They are themselves, models of the closed system. And, while we certainly can’t do without teachers, and most make important and pivotal contributions to the lives of our children, it must be said that teachers are expected to prepare students for, in this day and age, a kind of world and global tech economy they themselves have never really experienced.

Am I advocating doing away with teachers? Absolutely not. As a Social Impact Designer, my job is to bring new perspective to the– in this case very old– conversation. I begin with the problem. In my work with the school system it’s kids in poverty can’t find a way out. I ask why. A lot. Why gets me down to the root. Why pushes past band-aid solutions because nothing is more frustrating than the band aid solution where you leave the problem only to see it resurface with more vengeance and even more complex problems alongside it. I don’t deal with problems for very long. I deal with challenges. In a school district where 75% of the students come from homes plagued with poverty, how do we deal with the problem?

The “how” is, we look through a different lens.

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