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Thread: Having a bad week (Blah #1)
Date Posted: 2004-02-06 03:59:46
Thought that it was important to write about the bad times as well as the good times... as they seem to go hand in hand - especially when working with communities that are not your own.
For the last week I have been suffering from frustration, doubt, paranoia, anxiety... my work is not meeting my expectations... I'm feeling like I'm failing.
After great success in the first week of workshops at the African Hope Learning Centre... it seems that everything is taking a step backwards... and it's freaking me out. And I feel that it's being compounded by my confidence being damaged by the lack of success.
It seems that I can't get the young people's engagement anymore... it's to do with context... it's to do with being a teenager... but mainly it's to do with language - it's easier for them to lose interest than struggle with me to communicate with them.
I've tried non verbal... I've tried physical... I've tried fun stupid games... but I guess teenagers are teenagers regardless of what experience they are informed by... and by their very nature are self-conscious and project indifference and attitude. Usually I am excellent at breaking this... when I can speak their language... but I'm struggling.
I have devised a plan that I am really happy about - which allows for flexibility and input - the works, but I'm not convinced that it's working... that it's right for them... it's a question of trial and error - but how much grace-time do I have before I have them all offside?
And then again... there is the issue of outcome. What outcome? Will there be an outcome? At this rate it looks doubtful... I'm not even convinced they know what I'm doing there!
It's probably not as bad as what I'm making it out to be... but I have no support structure here - in the sense of someone to give me feedback, someone to fill me in on their context, someone to assist me with language... someone to suggest, to talk to... to invite me in or give me access to their culture... so these thoughts tend to spiral down - making it harder to see a positive... to get the confidence back.
So I'm on the search for a Mentor... someone from the community who I can befriend... establish a trust with... learn from... humbly ask for their help... I have put the word out there - but as yet no response. Must be patient.
And I guess I have no choice but to try again tomorrow... something else... must find that key - a way of working that will engage them... give them a sense that their investment will be worth it... but I'm running out of ideas and energy... and I'm starting to panic.
Anyway - thought I'd let you in on my head at the moment. I never thought this was going to be easy... and it has proved itself extremely difficult. Tomorrow's another day.
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