The members of the CCHS Future Educators of America (FFEA) were ready to take on both the roles of teacher and student when they visited Pioneer Middle School on Tuesday, February 27, as part of their leadership exchange project.
Praised as “so much fun” by FFEA club sponsor Emily Rodriguez, the trip allowed the two chapters of the same organization to meet and converse about topics related to education and leadership. Seventeen students attended the workshop, which lasted for about an hour and a half.
FFEA, a club which attracts students who are interested in entering the teaching profession, is known for education related-service projects – especially those involving younger students. However, while the students of CCHS FFEA had been participating in a leadership exchange program with college students at Florida Atlantic University for some time, this was the first year that they brought the workshop to Pioneer Middle School.
“We [had] never lead a leadership workshop [before] this year,” FFEA Vice President Mandy Jiang said. “We decided that it would be a great idea to go to Pioneer and teach their FFEA club about the qualities of a leader.”
After each participant had introduced themselves, the members of CCHS FFEA lead a teamwork exercise to demonstrate the characteristics of effective leadership. Students were divided into groups of two and were tasked with “rescuing” a gummy worm named Sam without touching it. Using a few provided tools, as well as communication and coordination, they enthusiastically took on the challenge while sharpening their leadership skills.
Using a few provided tools, as well as communication and coordination, they enthusiastically took on the challenge while sharpening their leadership skills.
“[The activity] was an attempt to underscore the importance of teamwork and problem solving in any situation,” FFEA Secretary Jared Arney said. “The [most challenging part] for the Pioneer kids was probably the relative difficulty of doing [the activity] with and without a partner.”
CCHS FFEA members found the discussion that followed the activity to be an especially memorable part of the trip, as they were given the opportunity to listen to perspectives of younger students on what makes a good leader. Members of both chapters shared ideas and opinions on the roles of leaders in the community, as well as strategies to consider when in such a role. The Pioneer Middle School students were receptive to the advice of CCHS FFEA and contributed to the conversation themselves, opening up about instances in which they have displayed leadership within the community.
“We asked [the students] about their experience with leadership and many of them offered to share their personal experiences with us,” FFEA Historian Jude Miles said. “We all had fun returning to Pioneer Middle School and interacting with the middle school members of FFEA.”
Given the positive responses to the program, FFEA is looking to host leadership exchanges with other schools in the future.
“The Pioneer kids really showed interest in becoming leaders.”
“[The field trip] was awesome,” Jiang said. “The Pioneer kids really showed interest in becoming leaders.”
Photo courtesy of Jude Miles