Discussion Series, Not Lecture Series It is my second time volunteering with Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice in Cleveland Metropolitan School District and I am with the same group of girls […]
Discussion Series, Not Lecture Series
It is my second time volunteering with Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice in Cleveland Metropolitan School District and I am with the same group of girls I was with last month. I come in determined to try and learn names and get as much participation from them as possible.
My partner comes in with a plan of attack for us. We go into the classroom and start with the mindfulness activity. I am met, unsurprisingly with eye rolling and general disengagement. But it doesn’t put a dent in my energy, as there are still some students participating.
As we start talking, I realize something is going wrong. My speaker volunteer partner isn’t listening to these kids comments at all. And I can see it in their faces; we are losing them. She goes on with her lecture, and seems to forget that the entire goal was to have a discussion.
If you come into the classroom expecting attentive and active engaged students, without yourself being attentive, active and engaged, you are going to have some problems. You are just as much the student, as these youth.
Kids will teach you about the environment they are growing up in, about what social injustices are preventing them from doing well in school and/or what their aspirations are. You can’t help if you don’t know the problem.
So if our goal really is to empower youth, first, we must listen.
Do you want to make an informed contribution to social justice? Do you believe in the empowerment of youth? Volunteer with us in the EYEJ Discussion Series, by signing up here.
EYEJ Volunteer & Advocate