This was the big week! We taught the UWEC immersion workshop this week. I sprained my ankle in Roller Derby the Saturday before so I was a little worried about how it would go teaching on crutches. Laurel and Mari were great though and it really ended up not being an issue. I was very impressed with all our participants. I noticed myself pausing and trying to decide when to jump in and when to stay quiet in the course of the workshop. Laurel and I had divided up responsibilities for teaching early on but we both ended up jumping in to add things across sections. I was grateful for the self control that I have developed to not just blurt out what first comes to mind. I was also grateful to have Laurel’s subtle guidance in encouraging or discouraging me at times. I feel like I’m “learning the language” of facilitation and it’s useful to work with someone who is as skilled as Laurel. It’s like studying abroad to be immersed in a new language.
After each day’s work we got to debrief (Laurel, Mari, and I) and make adjustments for the next day. It was nice to reflect together and the opportunity for immediate feedback was invaluable. I was surprised and impressed that Laurel values this type of work so deeply. I had been in awe of ALL the complex projects she has worked on and I guess I assumed that practicing her craft was more rewarding to her than teaching the craft to others. In debriefing, I learned that wasn’t the case. She truly values nurturing an understanding of and skills for collaborative processes in young people as they will ultimately carry the torch ahead. This was really valuable to keep in mind.
As a part of my responsibilities, I crafted an evaluation tool for the workshop which Mari adjusted bases on the needs of the UWEC instructors (and the grant that paid for their trip). This tool allowed us to gather valuable information (see the next week’s post) for future, similar immersion workshops. UWEC Participant Evaluation