“We’re expected to raise our hands to use the restroom, then three months later be ready to go to college or have a full time job, support ourselves, and live on our own. It’s not logical.” – Kate Simonds
The first time I read the book Innovator’s Mindset was the first time I had ever heard of Kate Simonds and her TEDx Talk. I was awestruck by her incredible mind, and it took me back to my own rebellious and pirate-like personality from that age. I had written about this before and discussed the take on this my daughter’s point of view. She was around twelve at the time and has always been tenacious. She watched the video on my request and had some profound thoughts on education and how she feels she fits or doesn’t fit into the mold that is required many times.
Today, I want to address this same video and thoughts from the book from a different point of view.
My son graduated from high school last year. I began questioning students I have known since they were in preschool about plans for college or career, education, and so on. I started out with the normal questions we ask students like where they were going and what their major was going to be. Many quickly responded.
What they struggled with were these questions: Why did you choose that major, school, location, career? What is your passion, does this choice relate to your passion, and what other options did you consider?
As I spoke with my son, he was fearful and unsure. He has passions, but wrapping his head around the possibilities seemed out of reach. The questions, “What is possible? How do I find a career this fits me?” He like so many others had gone test to test, performing well, and yet unable to correlate his academic life to the future.
As I reread the first few chapters of Innovator’s Mindset, I was taken back to some of my original reflections based on Kate Simonds. So much of education has been focused on compliance. Compliance deprives our students of trying new ideas, putting their spin on things, and in essence determining who they are and how they can benefit society.
“To succeed, they will need to know how to think for themselves and adapt to constantly changing situations.” – George Couros
I challenge that if we are a mentor, have high expectations, and give them parameters that are to meet; they will rise to the challenge. Students want to be somebody; they want to do great things, they just aren’t always sure how and are scared they will fail. Our job is to prepare them for anything and to show them how to get back on track when they have fallen. We are their guide, their teacher. We are charged with giving them the confidence to go out into the unknown with empowerment, not compliance.