TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.


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What was your biggest obstacle or frustration during your years of conventional education?

I want to know how to make the next generation better, so after telling me your issue or obstacle, I am also curious to hear how you would translate that into some small change or action that can grow outward from a single classroom to a school and then further.


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    Mar 20 2012: One of many was certainly the incident where the class was given the, at that time, standard ‘school career test’. I was 16, the year before graduating from High School. The teachers were confused with my results, which indicated a broad interest across the spectrum of subjects instead of, what they were used to, a clear preference for either A studies (anything not B) and B studies (Medicine or at least Engineering).
    Since they didn’t know what to do with me I wasn’t bestowed the attention, support and direction the other, especially B, students were given in information on opportunities for further studies. I was on my own. Besides being branded as weird for not having one clear-cut interest it resulted in a lifelong quest for ‘What is that one thing I’m supposed to be best at?’

    So, although it resulted in a very interesting ride so far, the change I would like to see is: Teachers being better equipped and educated in guidance of students with regard to career choice.
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      Mar 20 2012: Yes! Brilliant point, Astra. I'm very passionate about meaningful counselor ratios and supplementary training for classroom teachers.
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      Mar 20 2012: Astra, that would not be my biggest obstacle at that time but since you mentioned it I found that counseling in the Italian school system was very very very bad. Just like you I had "potential" in all of the subjects we used to study and I ended up by choosing something I had never ever heard of before. But the question "what should I do when I grow up" is still haunting me....and I guess I fully qualify for grown up now.

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