I have had a lot of growth in this skill throughout the year. I am almost towards ‘mastery’ but I am not exactly at the ‘mastery’ level yet. Some ways that I have grown as a student is by speaking in groups of people and being less nervous when I am speaking in front of a group of people presenting something, whether it is a project or simply stating my opinion on something. Usually, when I am nervous in class or in big groups of people, I do not speak or communicate effectively. My voice tends to become a bit shaky, and I sometimes lose my breath. Some reasons as to why I have not yet illustrated the mastery of this skill is because, sometimes when I am stuck on something that I don’t understand, I don’t particularly know how to ask the question or ask for help without feeling really angry that everyone else understands it and I don’t. Other times,while trying to speak effectively, I become so emotional and then I feel like I should just give up. Allowing myself to ‘give up’ and not ask for help and try to get things done on my own sometimes led me to failure and becoming even more lost in my work and assignments. Maybe one action that I could take to practice this skill, and to not become far behind in work during the process is to go to the teacher after school or before class more for extra help.
Another action that I could try is to see if I could listen to music while I’m stuck on a homework assignment. Or If I need to focus on my work, I could listen to study music so that I don’t have to communicate that much, and ask many questions to lessen my chance of putting myself in a nervous position.
Some things that I might have to do, to improve myself to achieve this goal, is to become less aware of how other people see me. I shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not someone else understands something more than I do, that just simply means that it’s their skill, and everyone is good at different things. Like some people may be good at every subject, and I am only good at two, but that’s okay. That doesn’t mean we are any different, it just means that I may have to get more extra help and be okay with myself getting more extra help without feeling less than anyone else.
Collaborate With Others to Produce a Unified Work and or/heightened Understanding.
Throughout the year, I have gotten better and better with collaborating with different people while trying to produce a unified work. This, ‘working with others’ more in group, project and class assignments came a little new and different to me since I usually like to work by myself and that’s what the regular teachers would always have us do.
One project that I had done this past school year, that relates to this capacity on the vision of the graduate paper, is the NHD project. The national history day project is not required for you to work in a group (since you can choose to work by yourself), but I decided to work in a group with three of my other friends. In this project, you have to know how to work with others and you have to be able to collaborate with others as well as talk about different ideas and produce unified work without arguments. I know that my group and I struggled a bit with getting along and working together because we were friends, and sometimes while we were trying to get work done we ended up fooling around and talking about things that did not relate to our project. Another way we struggled with collaborating was creating good set times and dates to meet for practice. I ended up becoming very busy and I needed a set schedule for certain things and there were certain times during the day where I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it to certain meetings. The other members in my group were very much ‘morning people’ and wanted to meet on the weekend most times at 10 am or 11 am but on weekends that’s when I choose to get the sleep that I missed during the weekdays. Also a lot during the NHD process, we tended to practice a lot for the Regionals and the State Contest. Sometimes a little too much…
Another issue my group and I had during the process of the National History Day project was agreeing with each other’s ideas and accepting each of our ideas. This is an important trait of collaborating with others and I think it’s important to accept other people’s creative thoughts and point of views. Everyone in our group had different ideas and I feel like sometimes we only just stuck to one person’s ideas and didn’t listen to everyone else’s. Also in the group, I feel as if we didn’t collaborate that much as a group or listened to each other and respected one another as much as I had hoped we would. We were all good friends but we didn’t treat each other respectfully as friends. I know that sometimes we all become aggravated with each other and angry sometimes, but I feel as if the rest of the group believed that I was the stupid and dumb one, the one that didn’t care about the project as much as they did, and the one that didn’t put enough effort or any effort into the project. This feeling did make me feel less interested in the project. When we were preparing for the State’s contest and met almost every day after school I didn’t want to meet. I ended up losing interest in the project, because I was losing interest in working with the people I was working with, and I felt as if they didn’t want me to be a part of the group anymore or that they wished I wasn’t a part of it. But, this feeling did begin to die down. After more space between the project and my school work we all began to settle on taking a break of working on the project for a few weeks. Now we are currently preparing for the NHD competition that is currently in three weeks!
Anyways, Some actions I have taken to improve my skills of the ‘Vision of the Graduate’ is to work efficiently with my group members and to not have many arguments. I also want to try and get my homework done earlier in the day so that I had a good night’s sleep. This only worked for a short amount of time because I ended up finding myself still tired after going to sleep early (8pm – 9pm the latest). Since this action didn’t exactly work I found myself trying to negotiate with my group members, saying that if they create a day to meet one day at 11 am I’ll come at 12 pm. This was a bit difficult though because on Saturday’s my mom usually has work and my dad, like me, sleeps late on the weekend because of the lack of sleep we get during the weekdays. I also tried to collaborate with my group more without causing any fights and tried to talk out more of our problems and issues, except every time that I tried to talk about our issues and problems about meeting way too much after school they brought up the fact that NHD is important and that they care about it and kept asking me if I cared about NHD or not. I did, but I started to not be interested in it anymore after I felt a bit of a disconnection between me and the rest of the group.
I guess what I’m trying to say (putting the whole top in a summarized matter) is that the beginning of the National History Day project was great we knew where we were going with the project and we knew the directions to reach success, but we didn’t know how difficult it was going to become in the long run. Since it’s such a long group project we have to learn how to grow the project to make it better every competition and grow together and make sure that the sun doesn’t just grow three flowers and not leave one to die. That’s kind of how I felt. I kind of felt like I was that one flower stuck in the shade, being left to die with no sunlight and no happiness about the project while the three others were in the sun and got along better with each other.
Other than National History Day, I also was in a group project with three other people in my Humanities class. It was the Children’s book project. In this Children’s book project, I was working with one of my friends and two other people I don’t know that well. Working with the two other people I don’t know well helped me not only get to know them better but to help me to see if they will collaborate any differently than my NHD group. One person who was in NHD group was also in my Children’s Book group which was alright because I knew her but I got to see one way she works with people in groups that I’ve never seen before. Everyone in groups collaborate differently. Sometimes they create roles for themselves in the group or they are every role. All I know is that that one girl was a little bit bossy and stubborn, which I didn’t like much about her. This caused me to become very aggravated as well and not like the project that much.
I think collaborating with people in groups can sometimes be hard. You have to learn to get along with different kinds of people who work differently and set plans differently. It’s a skill everyone should learn because when you get a job and if you have to collaborate with other people you will have to learn how to work with people that sometimes you might not like, but that’s just life, and it’s a skill that you will have to learn. It’s also important to know this skill incase you are put into a different atmosphere like in college where everything is new and different. Learning to collaborate with others can also save yourself in some ways because if you don’t agree with some people and cause arguments, you can begin to lose friendships or people may begin to not like you so sometimes if you don’t like the way they are in groups and how they work it’s better to not say anything and just deal with it.
A way that I improved this skill, in collaborating with people I don’t like that much or collaborating with people that I don’t like the way they work in groups, I sort of just told myself to do what they said without causing any problems. It did make me feel like I was sort of like a slave having no say in the project and my opinions didn’t really mean anything when it came to that one person but I decided that if I just did what she said and tried my best I would be okay. And some times I did. At Least just trying to do the work, made her less angry when I didn’t try. But sometimes when I did try to do the work, and came back the next day, she said that my drawings for the Children’s book wasn’t good enough or looked bad so I was forced to do it again. I know that I am not a perfectionist and whenever I do something I try to do my work and have it the best way possible so that I get a good grade but I do not try to make my work ‘perfect’. I do what I can and try my best. But I know that she was a perfectionist and I know that most people who even get a B+ on something gets so paranoid saying that “they should’ve tried harder” or they get angry but I would do anything to just simply get a B+ on any project that I do because I believe if you worked hard for what you did, even if it’s not perfect, a B+ or a even a C+ is still good. As long as you feel like you deserve that grade and that the grade is what reflects your work.