Ready, Set, Connect! is CTN’s Oakland-based workforce development program for youth aged 16 to 24. We asked one of this year’s participants, Shauna McQueen, to share what she has learned so far. Here is what she told us.
Before Ready, Set, Connect!, I had a vague idea about how to teach. I thought that in order to effectively teach something, I just had to “dumb it down” and make the idea as simple to understand as possible because that’s how I learned complex things — through diagrams, photos, and drawings.
With RSC, I learned how to actually teach ideas. From the moment I first explained a digital literacy concept to someone, I truly became a teacher, and I learned that teaching isn’t as easy as making a concept simple.
I soon learned that, especially in a diverse place like Oakland, teaching isn’t always straightforward. For example, not everybody speaks English, and you don’t know everyone’s language. How are you going to teach with a language barrier? Even if you use plain English, you quickly discover that the words that you use every day aren’t so simple after all! How are you going to teach the person a concept if their vocabulary isn’t similar to yours? And not everybody learns at the same pace, so how are you going to address the different learning speeds?
The diversity of the patrons at the library made me realize the complexities of teaching and how to be a good teacher. I now understand how to teach effectively despite language barriers and the different learning speeds. I have also learned to be a better listener and problem solver too. I am learning so much on this internship, but most importantly, I have learned that I can teach!
Ready, Set, Connect! is run in partnership with Oakland Public Libraries. Read more about this valuable program here, or to make a financial donation to support Oakland’s youth, visit our giving page.