School wasn’t a straight forward path for me. I grew up in Junction City, Oregon, home of the Scandinavian Festival and mint fields. After graduation I went to University of Oregon (GO DUCKS!) and pursued at least 24 different majors. I had no idea what my skill set lent the professional world. I could act, write a mean haiku, swim, mountain bike, sing, hike, listen and offer solutions, and read. See? For the longest time I was a self-described “jack of all trades, master of none.” Motivated by knowledge and working with my hands, I gravitated toward work that was engaging and active.
I graduated with my BA in English and had no plans. Los Angeles sang her siren song to this lost Pacific Northwest girl with promises of sunny and 72. She didn’t disappoint. As an executive assistant at West LA Music in Santa Monica, I did an ecletic work load which included picking up rent from the rentals the President owned to helping the Advertising department create weekly layouts. Writing became my daily ritual and I was transported back to my nine year old self who created family newspapers reporting on the bowel movements of our dog. I was really good.
LA’s song faded and the strong chorus of Purple Mountains Majesty swelled in my heart and I moved to Denver, Colorado. I continued to write and received my first rejection letter. By day I was a receptionist and by night a bartender. There was something missing, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it was. When walking along the river path reading and writing, I was in heaven. When flying down a mountain either on a bike or board, life was full, rich, brimming. My professional life was lackluster at best and downright depressing at its worst. My mom was the one who threw out the question, “What about teaching?”
And my life changed.
Now, if she would have said that when I was eighteen, I would have laughed in her face and probably dropped a few uncouth words as well. School wasn’t my favorite, but teaching and coaching had been second nature for me. I loved helping others discover, and so it made sense.
Until it didn’t.
16 years in the education profession as a high school English educator, a MA in Human Development, and a personal passion for research and best practices, pushed me to take U.S. education Off the Grid. Traditional classrooms aren’t preparing our students for much except rule following and rubric reading. We feed our students a myth. “Get good grades, Get into a good college, and then you will have a good job at the end of four years.” Which isn’t true. The truth is employers need creative and critical thinkers able to adapt and discern in a fast paced world. Where is the rubric for that? Where is the standardized test for that? Where is the class called, “What if?”
So I asked a question.
What if U.S. Education decided to completely unplug from the Matrix?
People who choose to take their dwellings “off the grid” buck tradition and yearn for innovation and creativity. True reform comes when we are able to slow down and unplug from the system long enough to question how it serves humanity well. Are you ready to take learning and knowledge off the beaten path?
I now work to support professionals from both education and business who partner to develop environments rich with self-discovery opportunities to create thinkers who adapt, discern, and love coming to work every day. I work to create company cultures that embrace the entire employee, not just the bottomline.
If you are interested in unplugging, even for a day, shoot me a line, maybe we can do coffee.