What are you learning about leadership from your internship experience?
Although some of my days feel so long, two weeks have already passed and every day I am learning of more ways I can improve myself or learning more of the behind the scenes work of putting on a whole summer program for elementary school students. Some responsibilities and opportunities I’ve had while interning at DREAM are preparing curriculum and putting together books we will be using for our summer program, organizing student’s reading levels, contacting parents, getting to sit in on training sessions that involved topics of race & racism, positive youth culture, family engagement, etc.
It’s been an extreme privilege to be a part of this amazing group of people who have so much energy, so much passion, so much knowledge, and so much love for what they do. Through seeing how they present themselves and interact, I’ve been learning the different types of leadership. I think it’s so easy to think that to be a leader, you need to be a certain way. Extroverted, charismatic, outspoken, and popular. Unfortunately, I am not really any of those things. However, I have been realizing that leadership isn’t a title only for someone who is able to take charge, who is outspoken, who stands up in front of the whole crowd, and always has the attention on them.
During one of our training sessions, all of the coaches (the college students who help out the classroom teacher’s and teach students social emotional learning) had to learn camp songs. One of the campus manager’s, Erika, along with some other people started running around the room and dancing to get everyone hyped up to learn the camp chants. She was completely bold and unabashed in doing these chants. She wasn’t up on stage alone, she wasn’t necessarily telling people what to do, etc. She partnered with other people to show leadership.
I’ve seen leadership being portrayed in different ways. The coaches who will be working with the students are leaders, the instructional team are leaders, the teacher’s are leaders, etc. Sometimes, leadership is simply listening to the need of someone else. It is being shameless in front of people to set a positive vibe. It is taking charge and doing what other people might not want to do. It is knowing the need and meeting it. It is being able to speak your mind when necessarily but also being open to change.
As a quiet introvert, it’s so easy to not see myself as a leader. It’s easy to get discouraged by comparing myself to everyone else who is more outgoing & seems to get along with people better. I hope that through this internship I can learn more of how to be shameless, how to be myself, how to be a charismatic leader. I hope to step out of my comfort zone and just overall skills that will help me in my future career.