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December 11, 2017

A Teenage Mind in the Making

As I went through the training to become a Mind in the Making facilitator, I kept thinking about the ways childcare teachers could benefit from these workshops, and I wanted to share many of the ideas with my teenage daughters to help them navigate the challenges of life.  When my time came to facilitate a group, it seemed like teenagers that were also working at childcare centers would be the perfect participants to grow from the Mind in the Making experience.  There happens to be a great program at Lakewood Ranch High School where students are in a class lead by the wonderful Elaine Bowling, and they are able to learn Child Development and go out in the community to work in child care centers.

I had taught for many years at all levels, birth through upper elementary — I did not have experience teaching high school students.  So when faced with two classes of 26 teenagers, my learning journey began right along with these young adults.  As we started Mind in the Making, I realized it was going to be a very different experience then I had had with my facilitator training group — everyone was so open and ready to share.  In a class of young people, they were so afraid to share and open up because they do not want to be judged by their friends. This was something we had to work through and a hard challenge to solve.

As the weeks went on, there were my “go to” students who were willing to share their experiences about the classrooms where they volunteered, but there were also still a lot of students checking their cell phones and trying to finish their chemistry homework while I was talking.  I persevered and did not give up. We made it through all of the modules, and I just had to hope that I reached a few of the students. It was time for our last exercise where the girls (there were no boys in the class) wrote down a paragraph about their experience and their takeaways from the course.

As I write this, I still get emotional thinking back to the sharing of these paragraphs. As the teenagers read aloud, I was amazed and touched because each girl was able to specifically reference some part of Mind in the Making so eloquently. How the workshops influenced them and inspired them to either work harder with their students or in their personal lives to reach success.

It turns out that even through a few sassy comments, some cell phone distractions, and teenage eye-rolling, they still heard what I was trying to share, and it made a difference. I am thankful to Mind in the Making and that group of girls, it was a great experience, and I have no doubt they will go forward in life and share their knowledge.

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