Part Three

Conversations with the people that helped me along the way

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Chapter 8

Talking with my teachers

Teachers teach you things. But how do they teach you things? I’ve had great hands-on teachers that kept a tight-knit circle of superfans. I’ve also had terrible teachers that instructed through counterexamples. I’ve even had teachers I’ve never met, whose work I tried to emulate. But over time, I’ve learned that the most effective teachers shared a common trait — instead of giving students information, they guided them to it. In this chapter, I’ll share conversations I had with several teachers that I’ve seen as mentors and guides, leading me down my own path to become a designer (and a teacher, too).

Chapter 9

Talking with my peers

School is a place to learn alongside other people. When you learn together, you also end up learning from each other — through the conversations you have, friendships you foster, projects you share, collaborations you, uh, collaborate, and the many successes and failures you see through (whether you want to or not). What you might not realize during this experience is that by studying, you become part of a new generation of designers that have the chance to push the discipline and industry forward. In this chapter, I’ll share conversations I had with the peers I’ve studied and worked alongside.

Chapter 10

Talking with my students

You learn from your students. That’s a rule. You have to. If you’re a teacher and you’re not learning from your students, then I’m worried for you. It was bell hooks who helped me realize that teaching isn’t the act of passing down knowledge. Instead, teaching happens somewhere between the teacher and the student. If all goes right, both parties grow in the process. In this chapter, I’ll share conversations I had with my students about their experiences as students — the good, the bad, the ugly, the pretty, the things they’ll never forget, and the things they wish they could forget.