Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Okay, That's Why I Do This For A Living

I was walking through Chelsea this morning when I saw a former student of mine outside of the Fashion Institute of Technology. I keep in contact with her via email (I have known her since her sophomore year of high school) but I hadn't seen in her in awhile so it was good to meet up with her.

She is in her third year of college at FIT in the Production Management program. I teach two college preparatory classes with some affiliation to FIT so when she got around to making her college decision, I knew that she had her heart set on studying Patternmaking at FIT. She applied early, received her acceptance letter and was thrilled to be embarking upon what she thought was going to be her new career in Patternmaking.

And then the unthinkable happened. FIT closed down the Patternmaking program. She would have to reapply in another major if she wanted to attend FIT. She was devastated. I remember having to talk her down off the ledge and go through the FIT book with her to see if there was another major she would be open to. FIT had suggested Production Management as an alternative and we talked about the pluses and minuses of taking that major as opposed to trying to reapply in the highly competitive Fashion Design program. She wasn't thrilled about Production Management but I told her about students of mine who taken that major and she decided she would give that a try.

Flash forward to three years later. She has her Associates Degree in Production Management and is working on her Bachelors Degree in the same major (FIT breaks the program up into two two year increments.) She is working in her field, she has an internship at a great company, loves her major, loves her school and loves the direction her life is going in.

It's wonderful to see this happen for students. I keep in contact with quite a few of my former students so I know many of them are doing well. But it just warms my heart to see them, see how well they are doing and know that I had a little part in helping them get there.

I take great effort to make sure that my students will be prepared for their post-graduate lives, whether that means they will be going to a two-year school, a four-year school, taking some time off before college or looking for a trade. I also believe strongly in discussing life issues, financial literacy issues and conflict resolution lessons with my students because I believe teaching these kinds of topics will prepare them for life after graduation. I know in the current education climate where billionaire businessmen and short-selling hedge fund managers make the decisions and test scores are all that are valued, helping students with life issues or financial literacy isn't something privileged by the powers that be, but I think they're important.

Seeing my student today with that bright, confident smile on her face on Seventh Avenue today as she makes her way through the world tells me I'm right.
blog comments powered by Disqus