Monday, March 28, 2011

The Next Generation

How many friends do you know with a job that can invite you in for a day to watch them in action and actually lend a hand?  I only know a couple, and they are all teachers. 

I had the chance to see Melissa command a classroom in her Nashville "office" during my trip and wouldn't be writing about it if I wasn't truly inspired.  She is one of the few people I know who doesn't loose a bit of herself during her work day.  Perhaps she swears a lot less, but she utilizes her humor, kindness and intelligence to gain the students' trust instead of becoming a different person at work.  Her relationship with her students was simply amazing.  And, the fact that she manages to actually teach them something daily, despite their fondness for stretching, passing notes and harassing each other, is amazing.  It's no surprise that she was recently awarded with a teacher of the year award.  Many congrats for my talented friend.

She asked me to speak about working in PR, explain how I got my start, and tell the kids what it's like to work in an office environment, live in NYC and balance everything out.  I've spoken to corporate boards with stronger ADD than these kids, but I've never had to lure them in with Jay Z sightings and break down the reality of a 10-hour work day.  We had fun.  And, although I think they'll remember me as the white girl that lives in Harlem I hope they actually learned something from my presentation.

Here's some things I spotted in her high school classroom, which I assume are in classrooms all across America:

  • Bedazzled cell phones
  • Pink converse sneakers paired with hot pink nails
  • Fake wedding rings
  • Hand painted water bottles
  • Heart shaped purses
  • Oversized backpacks and bags
  • Colored hair
  • Strick dress code (no blue jeans, and limited colored shirts), which is actually enforced and followed by the students
  • Star shaped post-its
  • Birthday stickers (which were received with great fan fare)
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Hand wringing

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