The energy that you bring to the environment is what creates that environment. It’s about finding that impact from the beginning. It’s not about what you say, but about how you say it. Student’s will always remember that. Whether it’s through smiling at them or saying something engaging
At Creating Chances, we emphasise what’s called a Big Start. We have introductions to make and schedules to run through, but it’s how we do it that counts. It’s about both creating the space (e.g. moving chairs around, turning the lights out, playing music) that’s beyond the norm, and then it’s about how we interact. There’s not necessarily right way.
I bring a Polynesian flow. I’m comfortable with music and laughing and telling stories. Each facilitator brings that Big Start in their own way. Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, sometimes close and personal.
Remember the Name
We live in a wonderfully diverse country. Our schools and community spaces can be the very best places to explore our experiences, and our names can tell stories of our diverse history, culture and people. Remembering student names tells them that they are seen, and they are valued. This not only lines up with the Department of Education’s purpose but is fundamental to connecting with each other on a personal level.
Name pronunciation is also crucial. Taking the time to learn and pronounce a name correctly can lead to an important connection with a young person, whereas doing the opposite can do the opposite.
We work with young people from across the world, either as migrants to Australia or as children and grandchildren of migrants. Names can connect them to their heritage, sometimes it may be the only connection they have. Flipping that relationship from student to mentor when learning new names brings an equality of learning and takes away the power struggle.
Vulnerability and Authenticity
Creating Chances’ most unique and important is the make-up of our facilitation and management team. We have incredible diversity in ethnicity, experience, gender and aspirations. But our commonality is our ability to be vulnerable, and understand every moment is teachable, for the young people we work with, and for us.
It’s being genuine and that will be the thing that shines through any barriers that exist. Students will take those bricks down when you mean what you say. To me that can be looking them in the eye, remembering their name and showing them, I really care about who they are and how they are doing.