I had just finished my training to be a Communication Consultant, and it was my first day at the Farm. I was extremely nervous. I was not sure what to expect, and I was afraid that I would fail at my job of a Communication Consultant.
When I first walked into the door of the house, I was immediately greeted with warm smiles and a friendly atmosphere. I had gotten to know the core members more during Good News, which is where we all take turns around the kitchen table sharing a recent positive event in our lives. We then lead to our activity for the day, during which we had small one-on-one conversations with one another. Our objective had an interpersonal communication focus. We were working on the acts of effectively making eye contact, listening, and appropriately responding in conversations. The activity was not only fun and enjoyed by the Core Members, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn a few more facts about each of them. We finished with an improv game” and I left feeling excited to be working with the core members for the semester. I felt that the lesson plan was a success, and each core member gained more knowledge on these interpersonal skills. The lesson plans were much different than I expected- they were educational, but were different than the traditional, “classroom style learning.” I really enjoyed the way that we delivered our lessons, and I could not wait to eventually create my own lesson plan.
The day where I created my own lesson plan came in the middle of the semester. My objective had a focus of speech organization. In other words, I wanted the core members to understand how to write a speech with an introduction, body, and conclusion. I planned an activity where the core members pretended to be their favorite celebrity. They would introduce themselves as that celebrity for their introduction, discuss their daily life for the body of their speech, and then conclude by stating why they chose that particular celebrity.
I was extremely nervous to present my lesson plan, for I was afraid that the core members would not enjoy it. I was wrong, they seemed to have a blast. Molly decided to be “Hannah Montana,” and she even sang one of her songs in her speech. I not only had fun helping the core members create their speech, but I also loved watching them present. They seemed to have fun, and they also learned about organization while enjoying it. I felt confident that my lesson plan was a success.
As the semester came to a close, and my Friday visits to the Peacehaven Community Farm ended, I was sad that I would have to say good-bye to regular sessions with the core members. I learned so much this past semester, and I gained a bond with each of them. From Anne and Molly’s constant smiling faces, to Jeff always being eager to share his ideas, I have learned so much about each member. I made many memories during my time of teaching communication competencies to the core members. One of my favorite memories was when we made acrostic poems. Each core member not only created a poem using their name, but they also drew pictures to go along with the poem. I loved seeing their creativity come to life.
When I first entered Peacehaven Community Farm, I was expecting to learn more about teaching communication. Although I have learned this, I learned lessons that I never saw coming. The core members have taught me more than I taught them. I learned to be more flexible, because occasionally our lesson plans would not be “perfect.” Sometimes, we took longer than expected, and that is okay. Ever since I learned to be more flexible, I began to live my days differently. Rather than having a strict plan on everything that I must do, I note which tasks are the most important, but I do not stress over following my exact plan. I have noticed that I am less stressed than I was before, and I never would have made this change if it were not for my time at the farm with the core members.
I loved walking in to see the smiling faces of Peacehaven Community Farm, and I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to work with the Core Members. This experience was life-changing, and I will never forget it.
by Alexa Bomersbach, Communications Consultant at UNC Greensboro
The University Speaking Center is an on campus peer-tutoring service at UNC Greensboro. Students are invited to train as a Communication Consultant, who enter into dialogue with other students about oral communication. Every Friday, Communication Consultants travel from campus to Peacehaven Community Farm, where they essentially bring selections from an Introduction to Communication Studies course to the Core Members. Each week, the student consultants arrive with an objective taken from an on-campus class meeting. They turn the objective into a lesson plan, and they facilitate the lesson to the Core Members. More about this partnership can be found at https://provost.uncg.edu/blog/2017/01/18/communication-studies-raising-marginalized-voices/