Alex: My role was a facilitator/instructor and a curriculum developer. Myself and two other facilitators worked to come up with plans for weekly class meetings, developing lesson plans and discussion questions based around the Big 8 identities (gender, race, class, sexual orientation, disability, religion, nationality, and age) and how to contextualize power and privilege within those identities. Maggie, Noor and I met multiple times weekly and communicated frequently about ways to manage the classroom, potential supplemental activities, and grading student work. We had eight students in our classroom, all of whom varied in social justice awareness and personal identity.
Through this process, I have seen myself less as a leader and more as a supportive figure; in my last iteration as a facilitator for this class, we had fewer students and I was the more extroverted facilitator, so I found myself speaking out and dominating the room more. This time around, though, I have been able to disappear into the conversation a bit, whether through my co-facilitators taking charge or just asking questions and letting the students discuss. This has made me more intuitive, since I can better focus on observing students and guiding them through their process rather than having to worry about filling silence. In terms of leadership, though, I have definitely come to see how experience and being prepared is the most important part of effectively taking a leadership role. As I wrote in my goal setting document, I wanted to strive to be prepared for class every week, and I found that it was easier to organize discussions having some preconception of what good topics would be and which videos were best to facilitate certain topics. It gave me a lot of peace of mind to be able to present potential lesson plans to the others, and to always have a few fallback pieces to present. Though it is somewhat difficult to consistently do this in the professional world, I know that I will never forget the lesson that being prepared (maybe even over-prepared, sometimes) and knowing what you’re talking about is a wonderful confidence booster and saves a lot of stress.
My greatest area of growth, somewhat contradictory to my “support” role, has been discovering how to be open about my own experiences and speak about my marginalization. One of my goals was to better learn how to express my privileges and discuss them in the context of how my privileged identities contribute in marginalizing others, but I quickly found that it was more difficult to speak to the areas where I was disadvantaged. I do not know if this was because of the class environment this semester or because of personal comfort, but this was a bit of a role reversal from last semester, and I was nervous but excited to explore this. Even though it was often difficult to articulate how I was feeling, I feel much stronger for being able to try speaking to that at all.
My favorite part of the preceptor experience has been getting to engage with my co-facilitators and work with them to figure out the best and most efficient methods of leading the class. I respect everyone that I collaborate with very much, and I am so grateful to get to continue working with them on social justice. Every week in our meetings, I learn something more about what it means to be a more compassionate person, to believe more of someone and help them rise to the expectations, to persevere through difficult situations. In general, too, I value the lessons I have learned in patience, collaboration with other facilitators to plan out techniques for raising concerns, and in how to support others. In whatever I choose to do in the future, I know it will be instrumental to be able to work with others and help them find their own success, and to be able to work with personal identities to understand different perspectives. –Alex