The weeks before an Exhibition Day are always filled with a frenzy of excitement and worry. As our team prepares to show their work to the public, they share their anxieties with us. “Will we finish in time?” “Will this be our best work?” “Are we ready to present?” Little do they know, as guides, we possess these same thoughts, “Did we give them enough time to complete their goals?” “Did we provide them with all the resources to do their best work?” “Will they be ready to present?”

In our first Exhibition in the Fall, our students worked diligently to present their projects. While centered on the Prediction Quest and Civilization WWII Challenge, our students also chose to share what they were passionate about—such as coding, art, and language. The diversity of the projects demonstrated each individual’s talents and interests.

This upcoming Exhibition focuses more on teamwork than individual effort. Through working in teams, each group will design and build a product to sell to the public. As they take on the stages of brainstorming, developing, pitching, building, problem solving, budgeting, and selling, they are coming across the natural challenges of teamwork and collaboration. Some teammates are unfocused. Some feel unmotivated. Some disagree with certain ideas. Some teammates feel that not everyone is participating equally. These are all challenges many of us have faced in our current jobs.

Seeing how they choose to interact and persevere in the face of these challenges has been humbling. Quite possibly, their solutions would put adult teamwork to shame!

Without our prompting, our teammates have chosen alternative ways to persevere through group challenges. Some have chosen to:

  • pause and play a game to focus on team spirit and fun, like the “trust” game,
  • have a group conversation on how to solve the problem,
  • have two teammates discuss a specific issue in private between the two of them and rejoin the group,
  • have a teammate take a moment to recharge before joining the group and reassessing the problem.

While persevering through these challenges has created stronger teamwork, it often takes great time. Therefore, as guides in this space, while we provide our students the tools and processes to accomplish their goals, our teammates are still responsible for budgeting their time, staying focused, and achieving their goals. Meeting the deadline on Exhibition Day is based on their own effort, perseverance, time management, and focus. If a team doesn’t meet the deadline, they are unable to present on Exhibition Day.

Probably one of the greatest challenges in being a guide is to witness the possibility of a teammate not reaching a goal when great effort is exerted. However, as much as we want our teammates to succeed on their first try, we realize the greater importance in developing grit and learning from mistakes.

As we prepare for our Exhibition, the questions remain perhaps taunting us and motivating us at the same time. The processes and guidelines are set in place. Encouragement is given consistently. Now, as guides, we must stand back and wait…

On March 14th, we’ll find out what happens. If you’re as curious as we are, we’ll see you on Exhibition Day.

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