this past week on npr morning addition, as the often do, they played a conversation from story corps. it was this conversation between a teacher and a former student. this conversation gave me chills. the conversation is between a high school teacher and a past student of his who didn’t graduate high school. it gave me chills again as i re-listened to it. perhaps because it hits at one root of being human; the need for being accepted and belonging as roger talks about not wanting to disappoint his former teacher. perhaps it gave me chills because i could hear the dedication in the voice of antero garcia, the teacher, when he asks “how could i have reached out to you better?” in this moment garcia is doing what every teacher i have ever met does; seeking for the next tool, the next asset, the next approach to reach kids and make them successful.
perhaps it gave me chills when i heard this because i am married to a high school teacher and i see this obsession for success in reaching kids first hand. i see the constant drive to improve; the constant search for adding modern metaphors to literature already read countless times, the undying dedication in searching for improved ways to connect, and indeed exhausting every effort to try something new which will have an impact. as roger in the storycorps puts it when he describes his view of good teachers, as those who “pay attention” to the kids.
as i listened to story corps, garcia intended to reach kids, but as importantly he intended to constantly improve on reaching kids. this is perhaps what struck me the most; the goal wasn’t the goal (lets assume passing his class, or graduating high school). the goal is to constantly improve. i will say again, in my experience knowing something about teachers, like garcia, most teachers do this. their goal is to constantly improve.
when i translate these kinds of stories into my own work, i see all kinds of gaps in how we define success. why isn’t the goal of technology in government to constantly improve? perhaps in some places it is, but as i look across the landscape of my profession, what i see is people constantly selling their previous solution for advancing a metric, as opposed to simply wanting to constantly improve. why aren’t we interested in constantly searching for the next thing that will bring an innovative solution to the core business rather than letting some large software company or platform do that for us? why aren’t we more like garcia?
December 04, 2017
i hope that there is a slim chance my children can experience some mountains or canyons, without handrails.
May 11, 2016
these charts help illustrate the mortgage landscape
February 18, 2016
tonight i have remembered the night it shook my bones. i just wanted to write about it for its own sake.
April 15, 2015
it is the opportunity to reflect that everyday activities are the most important thing. it is a milestone that the kid got back to the court from the darkeset depths of therapy, of surgery and of unknown and fear.
February 26, 2015
be very careful of any IT bandwagon, because in reality, it might be a fake band
November 01, 2014
i am so amazed by my uncle. my uncle paul, a stalwart in boulder colorado, has recently had a rebirth of music.
July 12, 2014
I owned and road my first fixed gear bike in the winter of 1985. I was a member of my high school cycling team back then in Fall River (pronounced fall reeva) Ma. Winter's in south eastern new england are a little harsh, there is a good mix of snow, freezing rain storms, north-easters coming in off the atlantic which make for extra salt corrosion see rusty jones.
July 08, 2014
This is an ignite talk i gave at a staff event about american cycling and innovation.
May 24, 2014
Writing out the names of the people who made the success at the fcc. what they did. the real rock stars
November 09, 2013
its been eating at me. the constant tech news. the constant headlines about failed government IT contracting.
October 07, 2013
good design integrates multiple technologies, and highlights the issue, rather than the implementing technology.
October 03, 2013
The antideficiency act is the law currently being invoked for having government employees not work.
October 02, 2013
yesterday was my 2nd furlough day in the 2013 government shutdown. three small things happened to me personally yesterday
October 01, 2013
yesterday was my first day of furlough in the 2013 government shutdown. during the day i did the following things
June 15, 2013
Why the recent GitHub release making geojson files automatic web maps is disruptive.
April 12, 2013
Recently at the FCC, we held an unusual day. We call it D(f)evEx (pronounced as either devex or fedex) Days, and this was our first ever.
March 22, 2013
Working on a previous conclusion that perhaps PDFs are not a great way to release data.
March 05, 2013
On Sunday, February 25, 2013, the White House released documents detailing the projected costs to states of the upcoming sequester.