Brene Brown (who we love) talks a lot about the importance of vulnerability in the classroom.
This is a quick activity that allows your staff to get to know each other a little better, laugh (maybe cry), and develop a base layer of trust, which will help as they learn to work together. Telling these stories creates a humorous atmosphere, encourages a lighthearted environment when things may feel especially heavy, allows for self-reflection, and two bonuses – it gives a head’s up to newer staff about what not to do and allows them to informally practice storytelling.
“I messed up”
- The adviser starts by telling a story of a “big mistake” they made.
Mine is about the time I left my headlights on and drained car battery. I didn’t have a car until the second semester of my senior year, and I was SO excited to finally drive to school, that when I parked, I totally forgot to turn off my headlights. Of course, I didn’t realize that until after school when I went to leave and my car didn’t turn on. Luckily, I had jumper cables and was able to get a jump start from a teacher who knew what they were doing – because it was very clear that I did not know that I was doing. He hooked it up and two seconds later the jumper cables were smoking and the clamps literally melted off the cable. We were able to use someone else’s jumper cables to get another jump, but the teacher insisted they follow me all the way home to my house (30 minutes away!) It was so embarrassing – but I definitely haven’t left my headlights on EVER again!!
- Then, students tell their “big mistake” stories.
Encourage them to be authentic, but they can be silly, sad, funny, whatever… just make sure it’s a story about their OWN big mistake, not someone else’s
- Then, the adviser goes again, but this time with a “big mistake” related to the journalism program.
Mine was about the time I literally forgot to teach my newspaper staff how to write captions.
- Then, the students go again, but (you guessed it) this time with a “big mistake” related to the journalism program.
A few examples you may want to give them to get them thinking: forgot a memory card at homecoming game, didn’t record an interview with the principal, overslept and missed a photo assignment, didn’t take a camera battery, etc.