I recently had the opportunity to give a message at the youth group I volunteer at for Celebration Church. I relished the opportunity to speak into the lives of the youth in Edmonton as well as take advantage of building my personal skills as a communicator and public speaker.
My first attempt at writing what I would speak about was unsuccessful. I spent a significant amount of time thinking and contemplating what I wanted to discuss as well as spent the time writing down my thoughts. However, when I looked at the finished product I was unsatisfied. It felt bulky and disorganized. I realized that I was trying to pack too much information into too little time.
So I began again. This time I broke it down into simpler ideas and even removed several points that I previously had planned on addressing. Rather than attempting to overwhelm the students with an array of thoughts I decided to focus in on two major themes. This vastly simplified my message (as well as destroyed my word count). This turned out to be the best thing to happen to me. I used the extra time to connect with the group and establish a relationship from the stage. I spent ample time joking around and eased my way into the core of the message while producing a comfortable atmosphere for myself and the students.
In reflecting on this experience I realized that too often as teachers we spend our time worrying about filling every bit of time allotted to us and forget about the relationship building part of being an educator. I know for myself, spending time simply being with the students with no other agenda than to get to know them is infinity beneficial in the long run. Student’s who are comfortable with their teacher are more likely to participate in class discussion and be open to approaching them when they need help.
I think the important thing to remember is that we are guides, walking along with the students, not a instructional dictatorship. Students’ who feel apart of the learning process grasp concepts better and are more motivated to take control of their own learning.