Friday, 29 July 2016

teaching the teachers

While Hillary Clinton was busy kicking her own #careergoals today (#imwithher, in case there was any doubt), I was experiecning my own career highlight - presenting on sustainable fashion to a conference of high school design and textile teachers.

Some of my slides discussing challenges, innovations, and leading sustainable fashion brands.

Those who know me well know how much I value education (and I suppose the fact that I'm midway through a PhD program would be a clue to others!). I was always the one sitting in the front row raising her hand, and I didn't count down the days until school let out for summer. And while I was between careers (you don't go from marketing to environmentalist overnight!) and working as a temp, my favourite gig was at a Catholic girls' school in Sydney. Though I could have worked at any number of temp jobs in convenient location of the CBD, I opted for the extra long commute and the hallowed halls of learning.

It was during that temp job that I saw firsthand the energy and commitment of teachers and other school administrators. Sitting amongst them in the tea room and assisting them with administrative tasks was an experience I'll not soon forget. I don't mean to paint all teachers as saints, but the vast majority cared more deeply about teaching and their students than I'd ever imagined, and my respect for teachers grew exponentially during those few months.

So when I was called to be a guest speaker at the conference, I jumped at the opportunity.

Anytime I can talk about sustainable fashion or lifestyles, I do it. I suppose that's my role in the activist world. But I felt privileged to be asked to teach the teachers what I know about this fascinating and evolving world of sustainable fashion. Through their lesson plans and sparks of inspiration they are training the next generation of fashion designers and producers who have exciting challenges ahead as the industry transitions to more sustainable modes of production. It's no small feat we task teachers with today, I suspect they'll rise to the challenge. It's what they do.

So today I did my best to share insights, knowledge and ideas with those people working the front lines of shaping the future of fashion. I hope I got an A . . .


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