i love my students.

January 23rd, 2014, 7pm

It was -7°C.

I have been absent. For the past 5 weeks, I have been teaching a UX immersive course at General Assembly, and for 40 hours a week I spend my time helping 20 people change careers, owning the knowledge I teach them, immediately making concrete things. It is extremely intense. It is like being in a reality show - like a non-televised America’s Next Top Model. But in our case, we are teaching them to become designers.

Today, we had what we call “one-on-ones” with the students, where we give them more than our undivided attention for a 15-20 minutes conversation. In my case, I spent more like 25-30 minutes with each person.

I don’t know how to say this. But I was humbled and moved hearing them be grateful to have more options in front of them in life, based on the knowledge and experience they are gaining. For some, they had to put themselves into debt to give themselves a new opportunity in their life. They are of very wide age range, and don’t all come from design or the web; I have an ex-Opera singer, a personal trainer, a mom of two who stayed home with the kids for over 6 years, a researcher, a neuroscientist… The thing is, I see myself in all of them in many different ways. Teaching is a humbling experience when done with passion and soul, where I believe you end up learning more than you teach.

During our one-on-ones I wanted to hug everyone of them. I want to make sure they get where they need to get. I believe in them so much. They have come such a long way!! I believe deeply that when we put something in our heads, and give ourselves the chance, we can get where we want. No one can tell us no. No one can say “Well if you don’t have a background in design, and are 50 years old it’s too late for you.” Fuck that. Everyone deserves to learn. And we are all many. We can have as many careers as we want or need to in our lifetimes. Why the fuck not! You tell me.

So it is on these basis that I push them, encourage them, motivate them, nurture their skills and make sure that even after this course ends, to keep in touch with them. I have, in the past, trained my friends, played (as I call it) an inspirational “Oprah” role to them, plug them to jobs and made sure they excel. I love doing that! And now I get to do it for 20 people!

Today I am humbled and moved by the power of people. My courageous women and men who gave themselves a chance, and who are finding their way.

I love my students.

Adrian, Samuel, Stephanie, Cassie and 4 others said thanks.

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celine semaan vernon

Advocate of the Open Web. Designer. Mom. Experimental anthropologist. Founder of the science-fashion label @slowfactory_ Founder of Le Design Team a Design Studio in Brooklyn helping organizations achieve their goals by optimizing their processes and empowering them with tools to keep innovating. http://ledesignteam.com Alien of extraordinary abilities living in New York

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