I’m Nikki and I’ve been an instructor at the Media Awareness Project for about two weeks. I’ve recently been thinking about my expectations starting this position, and how they’ve matched up with reality. I was excited going into this , excited to teach kids, impact the community, and learn new things for myself. But I was also nervous. Anyone that works with junior high school kids will relate to some of the worst-case scenarios that I imagined. Here are some of mine:
- I’m inadequate to teach these kids. Even as a film school graduate, I wondered if I would know enough about media production to impact the kids. What if they discover I’m not that good at motion graphics?
- They won’t want to be there. What if they don’t like me? What if they sense my fear? I don’t really know how to discipline them if I need to.
- I won’t meet their expectations. Do they expect me to be a media genius? What if they know more than I do producing media?
- What if I get awkward or go wordless in the middle of a lesson???
These are the things I was thinking going into my first week, and I was fully prepared for the worst. But now, well into my third week of teaching, here’s what my experience and what the MAP founders have taught me:
- I’m not their school teacher. I don’t have to make sure they pass a class or are ready to move on to the next. I’m I’m just there to teach them media production skills, which I am very much qualified to do.
- My job is to foster hope and to deliver skills. It’s not my business what they will do with that.
- These kids are super awesome and intelligent! They very much want to learn. I haven’t had any discipline issues, just opportunities to teach them how to work as a team. They have high expectations for themselves, and I’m there to help them exceed those expectations.
- The kids do expect me to be the adult, and to have the class under control. They are looking to me for guidance and learning, not to teach them the most profound camera movements or editing techniques. They really just expect me to know what I’m doing and to have a game plan for the day.
- Lastly, Nina told me that working with kids is intuitive and I found that to be true. It’s not awkward at all when I’m being real with them. Showing them my personality makes it easier for them to show their personalities and it makes the class real and personable. It also lets them be human and have a very human learning experience. Sometimes we feel more peppy than other times. Sometimes we have bad days. My job is to show them how to work through whatever is going on, and stay focused on their goal.
Needless to say, I have learned a lot these past two weeks. It’s been wonderful getting to know each of the kids at Paredes Middle School, and to discover their passion for learning and serving. I start teaching at Blanton Elementary this week so I’m excited and nervous to see how different elementary is from middle school.