Honored Alumni Lecture: David Nielson
“Simple is Hard—Do the Hard Work” is an important lesson David Nielson has learned in his career.
Nielson, BYU alumni, has had an astonishing career journey, starting as a part-time worker for BYU Independent Study shortly after receiving his bachelor's degree. He then transferred to Church headquarters to help put Church curriculum courses online and was involved in one of the very first online courses, Doctrine and Covenants. He moved to the Church Office Building shortly after and has been there for the past 22 years. He led the Audiovisual Department until 6 years ago, when he transferred to the Correlation Department.
His remarkable career journey allowed him to share some unique insights during the recent Alumni Lecture.
One of my takeaways from his lecture was the power of making things simple and clear. This advice can be applied across the board in so many aspects of life. As a future educator, this counsel took me straight to a classroom. When working with children, we must remember that children are only yet beginning to grow, and they do not understand the material and content like adults do, so making things simple and clear goes a long way.
Another insightful piece of advice that he gave came from his time working on mormon.org. While working on this project under Elder Neil Andersen, he received advice from various members of the Church in the tech industry. They gave him great ideas that he was able to gather and bring back to this project. During this time, he learned that “You don’t have to have all the solutions yourself. There are plenty of people, particularly in the Church network, good members, who are willing to participate, help, assist. If you harness that, you’re a lot stronger than trying to do it yourself in the ivory tower of the Church Office Building.”
Once again this powerful lesson can be applied to educators. Our jobs can sometimes begin to feel overwhelming, but we must remember that we have a whole team of talented individuals willing and ready to help! Whether it be a fellow teacher, a principal, or someone outside the school, if you ask for help, you will receive it! That is the power of education. People are all willing to help because at some point or another everyone had the same questions, concerns, and struggles. The last takeaway I want to address is the importance of adapting your message to your learner’s capacity. In a classroom, you are going to have kids of all backgrounds, learning styles, and sometimes ages, which is why it is so important to know your students. Knowing your students on a personal level will allow you to better understand their mental health, allowing you to guide them and lead them to grow in their learning. Having David Nielson's unique insight was such a wonderful experience that reaffirmed my decision to be an educator!