I have recently returned from a month’s travelling in Laos and Cambodia – 2 countries I had never considered visiting. The opportunity came about as the school that I work at were in need of another member of staff to escort 15 sixth-form boys on a month-long adventure in the developing world.
It truly was an amazing experience, though certainly not one that I enjoyed some of the time… actually, make that most of the time. It wasn’t the boys. It was their trip; they organised everything: transport, accommodation, food, the lot really. Everything we did was decided by the boys, the other teacher and me just had to go with them; our opinions were invalid.
That’s the bit that I struggled most with. The inability to make my own decisions for a whole month. I had to eat when the boys wanted, I had to sleep when the boys wanted, I had to do everything when the boys wanted. It was a complete role-reversal of the student-teacher relationship. And one that I am glad I put myself through. After a shaky start the boys were magnificent, and they were far more successful than I thought they’d be.
The trip really hit home just how much of a control freak I am. Whilst this isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, it can be beneficial to be a good delegator too. I need to have more faith in the people around me.
Don’t pigeonhole people based on first impressions. Give them the opportunity to surprise you.