Friday, November 11, 2011

Getting Ready to Open the Doors!

Our Bookstore Group is well on its way. Each of the ten group members will have certain responsibilities as described in their job descriptions. They’re very eager for the process to start and become “employed”. Being able to run a school bookstore really gives these students a sense of empowerment and it shows. The excitement was almost overwhelming as I read each of their job descriptions. They are very engaged and express a number of questions and concerns with respect to what the jobs entail.   Some of the job titles include General Manager, Sales Clerk—even  Advertising Representative and Security Guard.  Students then take turns rotating through the positions so they become experienced in a number of positions.
Right now we’re working on promotional strategies. They are beginning to learn how a business works and how to make it succeed. For example, when I asked Ryan “What if we sell the supplies for what I paid for them?” he responded “Oh no, we can’t do that. We will go out of business”.  
I asked each student to write down five strategies that would increase promotion of the bookstore. If all five strategies were correct, they’d be rewarded with a small gift. It always amazes me how incentives can motivate people. While some answers were far from correct, the incentives helped them try a little bit harder than they might normally. In the end, four students got all five strategies correct. Sometimes the right answer isn’t always the goal but that they put in the effort. The group process is very effective because students learn from one another and gain new strengths. Hopefully those who did not get all the answers will remember their classmates’ answers and be able to accurately come up with the strategies next time.
It’s been a good week all around. My group is excited and can’t wait for the bookstore to open its doors. Also I’ve noticed significant improvement in Ryan’s behaviors. I feel our talks the other week and through role model activities, he becomes more aware of his behavior and its possible consequences. He’s been more engaged in group and better behaved. I think he recognizes being the good guy is more beneficial. I am so proud of Ryan—he has grown from an angry, withdrawn, shut down little boy to a calmer, more open person. As a social worker this change in him is what makes me believe in Partnership with Children and my work.

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