Keeping up with school

I currently have 270 class absences. I miss a lot of school with all of the traveling and project work I am doing for Go Global Goals, yet I'm still enrolled with a full junior high school schedule. Thankfully, the five public school teachers who volunteered to work with me have individualized each class so that I reach all state requirements for each course, but in a creative, adapted fashion. They have altered the curriculum in a way that applies to my travels, and then when I'm home for a few weeks, I attend classes as usual and share about my experiences in the classroom with the other students. Together, we discuss and try to make sense of the stories, the Global Goals and how it is all relates to our every day life and choices.

We are learning about speech and rhetoric in my english class right now which lines up perfectly with my work, as I'm currently preparing a speech to give to schools in Indonesia. After writing my first speech draft, I shared it with my class and received a collection of feedback on what I could improve. They also summarized the main ideas they pulled from it so I could see if I was communicating the point clearly.

Standing up and presenting what I had written to my friends and fellow students felt even scarier than when I presented in front of 500 strangers in Poland. But the honest suggestions that I got from my class were well worth it. Additionally, the process itself gave both me and the entire class a real-life situation where we could instantly apply the speech and rhetoric theories that we were learning.

I have learned so much by having to just go, do, and problem-solve while I work through new and many times, unfamiliar situations with my Go Global Goals project. I've learned that sometimes the best thing to do - is ask questions.

Before presenting I posed three questions:

1. What are the Global Goals?

2. What is the main idea?

3. What is still confusing?

I then read my original draft, only telling the class that it was written for Indonesian highschoolers.

Every student in the class answered my three questions and we took around 15 minutes to have a full group class discussion on the speech techniques I could incorporate, along with suggestions to make it a more powerful message. I got a stack of notes back from my classmates.

Impressed by everyone's willingness to give so much thought to my questions, I felt supported and encouraged to revisit the speech and try again.

Because there were so many suggestions and comments, I needed a way that I could group and organize all of their ideas. So, I rewrote their comments onto notecards in blue ink.

Next, I knew I was going to have to reorganize my speech so that it had an easier to follow flow. So, I decided on an improved general outline that broke the speech into 7 main sections. They included:

1. Introduction

2. What are Global Goals

3. Why are the Global Goals important

4. Go Global Goals (what I'm doing with the goals)

5. Global Goals in Indonesia

6. What can you do?

7. Closing

I wrote each of these sections on more Notecards but used the color PINK.

You can see the sections written in pink on the cards in the photo below.

Then, it was time to sort.

I placed each blue notecard next to the pink section where it applied.

What I discovered was so interesting!

From this, I noticed most of my classmates wrote down that they wanted to hear more on why the Global Goals are important.

I wanted to immediately address some of their questions about the Global Goals and so I got out my Purple pen.

I grabbed another stack of blank notecards and started to write sentences to address the blue questions and comments.

Finally, I went back to my original speech and wrote down sentences that I still wanted to keep and sorted them into the 7 sections.

At last, I had a new speech draft.

Notecards give me the ability to re-arrange my ideas in different ways until it flows smoothly and tells a clear story.

Go Global Goals has taught me to be flexible and open to change. Each day brings another new, unexpected variable that I have to fit into what I thought was my plan. Many times, that feels scary and uncomfortable. But then I realize, I need to re-arrange my ideas to make room for a deeper understanding of the complex realities surrounding me.

It is a process.


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About Go Global Goals

The United Nations recently published a new set of 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. What do these goals mean for young people and the way we live and work for generations to come? Beginning in August 2016, I will commit 12 months to travel and explore the stories behind these 17 goals. By exposing the stories through a daily blog, I will also share my own journey of trying to make sense of these 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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