Danielle Krage is mentoring school students as part of Generation Fairtrade, a People & Planet and Fairtrade Foundation project. She gives us a taste of what it’s like to prepare for the first workshop, and how it went.
So, a lot’s happened since I did my training with People & Planet back in August. I just had to check my diary – was it really August? Time seems to have gone really quickly!
I’m writing this having just given my presentation to 90 year 10s. Honestly, it’s taken a little while to get to this point. I was matched with my school really quickly, but the reality of a very busy school (including an Ofsted Inspection) presented a few challenges on the communication and scheduling front!
Things moved forward faster after meeting the Deputy Head and another interested staff member. The meeting was great for figuring out and pinning down scheduling options, talking through possibilities, and getting a shared agreement about some of the key factors – for example, the importance of it being student led. I left with firm dates for my presentation and follow up session, but also the challenge that all the year groups have a 15 minute assembly. If I wanted to talk to a big group any time soon that was my best option….
This has pretty much been the theme of my experience so far. Being really excited to get going, meet the students, and explore all the fun things we covered in our training. But also having to figure out when to be flexible in light of the specifics of my school. It’s helped that Laura and Juliette have been supportive and understanding of this.
Soooo…..15 minutes…Agggh! What to include? I went through and through the presentation, sorting material into what would make the most attention grabbing and stimulating introduction to Fairtrade on the day, and what I could save for my longer second session. I did this whilst still daydreaming of the school ringing me and telling me that, due to some unforeseen staff training, I could now have the year 10s until first break if I wanted…. – didn’t happen!
Still, you can do a lot in 15 minutes! What I kept reminding myself was that the students would just see what was in front of them, so it was my job to use the time that I did have, as positively as possible.
On the day, I tried to keep it as visual and interactive as I could, using pre-selected parts of the original presentation. And above all, I tried to focus on the tone and atmosphere - smile, enjoy the time I had there, engage fully. Stimulate the students’ interest in the hope that they’d feel inspired to sign up for my second session, when we could explore Fairtrade and campaigning in more depth.
I don’t know how many students have signed up yet, and what other practical factors will be at play (Coming to my workshop will mean missing PE…probably a range of reactions to this one? ) What I do know is that I really enjoyed engaging with the students, and seeing how quickly their body language changed. When I first looked out at them, in their rows and rows of chairs, there was a generally slouched and sleepy air to the room (It was 8:25am on a rainy morning!).
But within minutes they were contributing suggestions, sitting forward, pointing things out on the projections. And as I wrapped up, I noticed that I was hardly having to project my voice anymore, because the students were so attentive. I left really wanting to hear more of their responses, so am looking forward to going back in a couple of weeks to meet them again!
Are you a teacher looking for support to get your school going Fairtrade? If you’d like to work with a Fairtrade School Mentor like Danielle in 2013, then register online today.