Final Reflection Project Alex Witt, Noor Rana, & Margarita Ruedas

This is a sampling of student art post submissions, varying in theme from "Class Inequality" to "Sexual Orientation". Each week, we asked students to submit a piece of art that they felt represented the week’s readings, as well as complete a “six word story” and identify their favorite quote from the reading. Then, in class, we had them work with those art posts and some selected videos and activities to further engage and explore the topic at hand; this happened primarily as a full class, but we occasionally split into smaller groups or did one-on-one conversations. For example, during the Age week, we led a full-class discussion (with the help of our advisor Cynthia) on the ways that people of various ages are disadvantaged by various societal institutions, tying our own experiences and observed media comments to the ideas explored in the reading. Each week was both a content analysis and a way to discuss our own feelings and preconceived ideas in order to come to a fuller understanding of each identity, as well as contemplate our own privilege and marginalization.
Alex Witt

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

Noor Rana

Noor: My preceptorship experience was great! I learned a lot about myself and learned a lot about the people around me in this experience. I learned the significance of empathy in the duration I worked on this preceptorship. Everyone in the class came from different backgrounds and skillset. Therefore, it was crucial that I understand where their perspectives are coming from. I also learned a lot from our supervisor. She strikes the perfect balance between being professional and casual. She made us feel very comfortable in her presence while maintaining a professional attitude. I learned a lot from her and will be applying to my future leadership skills. I worked with my co-facilitators who are great team players and that made the process very easy. Overall, my preceptorship experience will be the one to remember.

To me this picture symbolizes growth overtime. We must grow together practice love, peace, life, freedom and equality.

I was a facilitator and co facilitated the class with two other students. I helped with lesson plans, met with students outside of class, co-led, attended two weekly meetings, attended class and also played a role of mentor to students who needed encouragement. I worked with Alex and Maggie and co facilitated the class with them. I worked with Cynthia and reported our weekly progress in the class along with seeked advice on how to improve the class. Every week, Alex, Maggie, Cynthia and I met for a hour on Monday and about a hour on Wednesday to lesson plan and reflect on the class. I worked well with everyone. Everyone knew their role and admirable fulfilled all their responsibility. I was very fortunate to have worked with them on this preceptorship.

I grew as a listener and acted like a sponge for the first time in my life. There were so many things that I learned, in doing so, I played the role of a sponge. I wanted to absorb them all so I can apply those lessons in my future leadership experiences. I developed my skill as a listener when I saw Cynthia talk to a student from our class. She carefully listened to the student and made space for him to express his feelings. This was one of the highlights of my experience. She knew when to ask the questions, when to listen, when to advise and above all she cared as she was doing all of that. I was blown away and maybe one day I can do half of what she did. After that, I started to work on my listening skills and that’s the area where I grew the most.

I belive that there should be equality among all genders in school, families, cultures, work space, etc.

I learned that I am shy when I am lost and confused. I thought that I was shy because I was new but that was not the case. When I am unsure, I tend to go in my bubble. I realized this during the preceptorship. Usually, I lead in most of my extracurriculars so it was new to understand and fulfill a vision someone else’s vision. The fear of not doing justice to it made me very shy. However, I learned to pop my bubble. This happened overtime and I am glad I had this experience. It is crucial for a leader to understand his/her/their shortcomings and address them but more important than that is to understand the root cause of those shortcomings. I was able to do that throughout the preceptorship, in doing so, I grew tremendously as a leader.

I will continue to work on my listening skills because that is important in my future career as I will be listening to the life stories of other people. I want to be an international human rights lawyer for the United Nations.This is an intense field and I need to be able to pop my bubble much faster than I usually do and be able to listen to everyone's voices while adding mine.

Margarita Ruedas

Margarita (Maggie): My experience as a preceptor was challenging but it helped me grow as a person, student and co-facilitator. My role was to instruct, lead and develop curriculum for various students throughout the semester. To add onto this, I was also a mentor to these students who were looking for ways to grow and develop their skills. I worked alongside Noor, Alex, Cynthia & Sarah. These four and I worked diligently - focusing on how we were doing as people and constantly asking and delving deeply into different ways that we can improve our class. It included a lot of leadership in taking on tasks and dividing curriculum between the three preceptors, and checking in constantly with our supervisors. I work well with others when the work is evenly split up and when we have open and clear communication - which we did. Alex, Noor & I would switch on curriculum writing every week. The curriculum we worked with involved us facilitating about difficult social justice topics (Big 8 Identities which include:gender, race, class, sexual orientation, disability, religion, nationality, and age) and facilitating a class regarding the topic for the day. For example, one week would be about age so one of our students would facilitate about age and then we would also do a facilitation. Overall, it was a wonderful experience that I will cherish for the years to come!

These photos are other art posts that are students chose during different days. The 1st one is in regards to migrant deaths for nationality, the second one was posted for Race in regards to the Black Lives Matter Movement and the last one is a Women's Liberation Movement that was posted for the week of Gender. These were collectively the three of my favorite art posts that our lovely students submitted. - Maggie

The opportunity to be a facilitator/TA is the best thing you can do for your personal and professional development. By doing so, I gained insight on how to truly balance my life as a leader, student and professional. I learned what it truly meant to self-care for myself while also making myself available to my students, co-facilitators and supervisors. I learned that I work well with others and to really grow off of the people you work with. I learned so much from Alex, with her experience as a previous facilitator and from Noor for have taken the class we are facilitating twice. I learned to allow myself to be vulnerable and grow - and I think that realization can come about in a pretty tough way. You want to be able to say you know everything when you are in a professional setting, and i learned that asking for help professionally is how you grow. - Maggie

My greatest area of growth was gaining skills to time manage and learning to speak confidently in front of larger crowds. At first, I would really not look forward to speaking in front of my students and facilitating. However, slowly over the course of the semester I gained skills that I would not have gained as quickly elsewhere. I am now able to easily facilitate in front of large groups and talk about what can be challenging, social justice topics. I also gained time management skills and now consider myself to be an organized adult. - Maggie

The experience that I will take away from this is that no matter what - students and professionals are people first. By facilitating this course, I was able to gain insight into some incredible things that happen in people’s lives. I learned facilitation, leadership and co-management skills that I will be using in a professional setting and career. However, the people skills and empathy that I gained from working with these diverse and dynamic group of students is what will impact my future career as a human rights lawyer the most. - Maggie

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