Topics in Leadership: The Leadership Challenge Cristal Robles BAnuelos

This semester, I was a Teacher Assistant for the Topics in Leadership: The Leadership Challenge Course where I worked with Jessica Hill. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience and felt like I learned so much!

I got to work with Jessica Hill, who taught me so much about facilitation and more specifically, engaging the classroom. Jessica can honestly get ANYONE to participate and luckily, I am better to engage a classroom now as well. She taught me about timing, enunciation, and most importantly, about the power of Think, Pair, Spare!

Jessica and I met weekly to discuss the curriculum and decide who was facilitating what activities. Overtime, Jessica gave me more and more responsibilities.

At first, our class was very difficult to reach, however, over time, they began to become more involved with the course and their reflections on certain activities we did really WOW'd me! They began to make the activities their own which made me realize that I was doing my job effectively!

This was one of my favorite activities! Our students really began to value working together and problem solving with one another!

This semester, as strange as it sounds, I truly got to know myself a lot better. As a leader, I learned that I am less reluctant to taking on new challenges. When I was a teacher assistant in the spring of 2016, I questioned my ability to take on more pieces of the curriculum because I felt that I could not communicate them as well as Mike, the instructor I worked with that semester, could. This semester, when Jessica suggested I facilitate something, I was excited and definitely put more personality into my role as a facilitator. As a professional, I learned that building rapport with those that I am serving with is equally as important as presenting myself appropriately before my supervisors. By this, I mean that acting professionally in front of my supervisor is just as important as making myself seem approachable to my students. Having knowledge means nothing when you can't share it with others because they are intimidated by you. This is something Jessica really helped me with.

My greatest area of improvement is definitely my facilitation skills, I am so much more comfortable facilitating now than I ever was before. I actually did not realize this until recently. I had to give a presentation to a room of about 60 students and I was able to do it well. Best of all, I didn't sound like a Robot!

I will take away a greater appreciation and understanding of leadership! Leadership can be found anywhere whether it is within the reflections written by my students and their participation in our classroom, Jessica's ability to engage an entire classroom faster than a drill sergeant ever could in the nicest way possible, and my ability to present more affectively. As much of my students thought, i once though that LEADERSHIP was only found in those in positions of power and BECAUSE of my engagement this semester and in our program in general, I realize that anyone has the ability to be a leader.

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