Category Archives: THE Plan

Just another day for thinking and creating

Today was an inspirational day.  I met up this morning with Dr. Reimers to discuss a class project and some personal ideas.  He is seriously one of my favorite teachers here.  Then, in my Charter Schools class,  there were a slew of great speakers with practical advice.. it was so jam-packed.  And then, oh, Mike Feinberg (cofounder of KIPP) decided to swing by.  Regardless of my personal feelings about KIPP schools, it’s times like these where I am amazed and thankful to be at HGSE.

Today I’m working on my Business Model Canvas since tomorrow I’m meeting with a friend to discuss a nascent business plan for The Mind Garden.  Wheeoo wheeoo.  Should’ve started this earlier!

I’m also eating Mike’s Pastry, Ben & Jerry’s Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Snack Ice cream, and Haagen Dazs five’s coffee ice cream.  🙂

Just read the following article to pump myself up.  An oldie but a goodie.

Disruption is coming, there is no doubt of it! Will it be soon? Will it be virtual? We have little idea at this time as to how it will eventually turn out. What is also clear, however, is that the technology revolution taking place means that when disruption does come, it will be more than mere operational rearrangements; it will be profound and revitalizing.

– Disruption: Coming Soon to A University Near You [forbes.com]

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Thoughts on the Impact of Mission: Alice speaks to Cheshire Cat

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.

`Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.

`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

`–so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation.

`Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’

Professor Reimers brought this up as he was lecturing on mission.  [Boy, I could listen to him talk forever, he’s such a good speaker!]  Anyway, it made me think.  I’m still thinking.

I mean, I thought I would know where I would want to be by March, but March is coming up in nine days.  I guess I’m at a point where if I go for Plan A, it almost feels like I’m really propelling my way down one track.  Whereas if I go for Plan B, then I may be choosing a “safer route” but may lose sight of the whole reason for why I came to HGSE in the first place.

“Follow your passions.”  This could appear naive, but  I think … it’s very possible.  Just scary.  Should I make the plunge down the rabbit hole?

Charting My Course 2011

[This was something I wrote privately on December 1st, 2011.  I wanted to share it because even in the course of 1 short month, where I was able to go home and relax and recalibrate, I feel so much better!]

Today was the last day of my classes for my first semester at HGSE.  During my last class, A608 Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Learning, our professor had us fill out this quick, introspective “map” of our future.

She first had us categorize ourselves in terms of Confidence and Clarity.

Visualize a simple chart with Confidence on one axis and Clarity on the other.  You can place yourself either in High Confidence+High Clarity, High Confidence+Low Clarity, Low Confidence+High Clarity, and Low Confidence+Low Clarity (eeps).  Based on the categorization, we had to answer a few questions.

I put myself in the High Confidence+Low Clarity group because I do feel confident that I’ll like where I end up.  But, that’s mainly because of my history with a less-than-ideal boss (euphemism of the year), unemployment, and all that jazz, my standards are so low that any job seems like cake.  Also, I feel confident in terms of ability and being at HGSE puts me in a good place in terms of connections (just being frank).  Yet I do lack clarity in that I feel that there are two paths that I could pursue; teaching or something more analyst-y or consultant-y.  It’s hard because I’m pretty sure that if I chose the former, I wouldn’t gain the broad business mindset I’d need to start the Mind Garden.  If I choose the latter, I feel like traditional teachers will look down on me for not being “legitimate”.

My concrete steps in filling these knowledge gaps is to continue working with people who are at the place where I eventually want to me and to still keep doors open for teaching jobs (I’m currently a teaching placement organization).  I guess I might take an HBS course too.

I guess the obstacles I’m facing is that I feel overwhelmed with too many opportunities and choices — what I choose means saying “No” to other things that I feel that I could do.  Also, I feel like I don’t have time!  And finally, I do feel intimidated – it sometimes feels like I’m the only one acting and everyone else has it put together.

The last question “how will I contract with myself to overcome these challenges” was realizing that I do have a blog, and that YOU guys can keep me accountable.  So I’m going to blog again and just try to work on getting more prepared.

Currently I’ve learned a lot in just one semester.  I feel that I have a better understanding of leadership and nonprofit finances and that I also have gained confidence in that I do have skills that I didn’t know were marketable (ie: social media).  I need to gain more specific experiences and also seriously calculate the logistics behind the Mind Garden.  I guess in order to do this, my next step is to maintain relationships with colleagues and reconnect with people from the past.

As one girl mentioned, perhaps my fears are the result of my projecting what I feel about myself onto how I think others might perceive me.  And another girl said that she HAD been learning before she came here.. and there’s no reason why she won’t when she leaves.  Which is True.

Anyway, this next week will be finals and then I’ll be coming home.  It’s scary how things are hurtling by so quickly.

Homeschooling: A Dark Horse

A week back, I read this fascinating article from the New York Times: My Parents were Home School Anarchists.  This semester, for my Introduction to Education Research class, I actually did a mini research project on the motivations behind home-based education.  As I wrote up the survey I used to collect data, I learned a lot of fascinating things and ran into fascinating people.

Random Things I Learned:

  • Unschooling — not parent-led but allows students to choose the direction of their own education
  • CLEP test- I met a girl whose brother was homeschooled, study for this test, skipped college, and went onto law school.  He passed the bar at age 21 or 22.  (My friend decided to make travel her college education, began traveling at around 16 or 17.. and is currently a licensed doula at the age of 22)
  • Internet schooling
  • Homeschooling is more widespread than charter schools
  • VARIED reasons for “homeschooling”
  • “Homeschool” is not a good word to describe the variety of alternative education.

Random People Stories

  • Okay, so I already talked about my friend Elizabeth and her brother..
  • One HGSE classmate was homeschooled thru her first year of college! And then transferred to NYU.
  • Another HGSE classmate chose homeschooling from 7th-12th grade (I thought homeschooling mainly took place when you were younger).  Granted, by high school, he was going to the coop classes.
  • Another family I know homeschooled their kids up until college.

Honestly, I’m just amazed and surprised that people successfully homeschooled their children THROUGH the secondary level.  I would think that would be so difficult!  (It is – hence many kids take classes at community colleges, neighboring high schools, or online).  Just the thought of considering allowing their child to continue with alternative education is amazing to me.

Obviously, this interests me, since the area of schooling that I’m interested in is alternative education.  It’s been interesting because with my time here, I’m realizing that the dreams I tentatively had actually have the possibility of being realized.

Anyway, switching gears, I really want to recommend the NY Times article I mentioned earlier.  In it, Margaret Heidenry reflects on her and her siblings’ childhood experiences of being homeschooled by their parents.  By no means were they a stereotypical homeschooling family – traveling from place to place, having a class schedule that included Yoga, learning to be poor.  Fascinating read; I highly recommend it.

My Takeaways

  • Homeschooling was even more stigmatized in the 70s (I thought homeschooling was a dying tred, not a growing one!
  • Children are resilient, sensitive learners
  • Homeschooling really doesn’t produce weirdo misfits 🙂

It’s been an interesting ride this semester. I met a surprising number of homeschooled kids and homeschooling parents. I reflected on my own brieft stint with independent study. I came across random research and articles concerning alternative schools.  This was all while I was in the context of learning about schools, education, and reform!  It’s a rich environment, my friends. Personally, I see homeschooling as a response to the lack in society OR the push that society may impose on families. I’m excited to see where my Mind Garden plans go.  It’s been a journey and I’m amazed at the number of positivity surrounding my ideas. It’s good to be challenged though – it helps me refine, tweak, defend, and ultimately strengthen my ideas.

Target year: 2015

My plan?

my... many-year plan