Half way through: the joy of design and teaching at General Assembly.

This summer I spent a lot of kiteboarding, hitting the road and taking on small projects. I’ll be honest about playing the role of design troubadour…it’s really fun!

Then six weeks ago I was pinged by General Assembly asking me if I had a spare ten weeks to come on board as an Instructional Associate for their User Experience Immersive Class. I meditated on the opportunity for about five minutes, stretched, and emailed them back: challenged accepted.

Walking onto the GA campus for the first time was a little daunting, knowing that these people (adults, wow!) had set aside twelve weeks of their lives to jump feet first into something completely new. My role with John and Felicity is to help take them from inception to industry ready in just ten weeks.

Throughout my career it has been drilled into me by my mentors that knowledge is a gift, something that’s never to be taken for granted. It’s my responsibility to make sure it is shared, not restricted to my own mind.

I quickly found myself going back to the basics, revising things that I had not thought about in over half a decade. Card sorting anyone?

After spending time with the students it didn’t take me more than a day to get excited. Witnessing the curiosity from the students after exploring something as simple as contextual inquiry made design feel alive again.

“It is not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and, yes, beauty to people’s lives.” – Don Norman

Teaching is intense and still feels new. There is pressure to be the person students turn to when they have a problem, to be the source of knowledge. It’s a positive pressure and a rare joy when work feels like a privilege, not just a necessity.

Half way in. Watch this space.