In this Master’s Vlog #42 from San Diego Christian College, I discuss my week 5 journal entry for my Qualitative Research Class. I reflect on how important it is to be flexible. When I step out of my comfort zone, I actually can look to my high school students. They are not set in stone. They are exploring who they are as individuals. They are less judgmental than the generation before them. In class, I think on my feet often. I read the room. I look at faces. What are their expressions and body language telling me? Is there another question I could ask to get a better response, or a new student to respond to a question that I am asking?

When I connect with the tone and temperature of the room, it may lead to side bars. Sometimes those momentary excursions create unforgettable classroom moments. In those moments I am authentic. I can let a lesson simmer for a moment, and lead from the heart. These moments are unpredictable. They are exciting. They feel real. Eye contact becomes more common around the room.

Students support exploratory adventure. They connect more with critical thinking than some of my students in middle school. With proper care for classroom community and management, we can talk about just about anything together. We trust each other to be able to share.

With compassion in place, we can discuss beliefs, politics, goals, and ideals. We seek to understand each other, rather than criticize and straw man a position, we ask follow-ups and listen to the responses. In the end of a class, we are ok with disagreement, and we understand more about the thought process and meaning behind each other’s thinking.

In the same way, I can try new things, pose new thoughts, and counter my own arguments, in a way that helps students authentically see multiple sides of various issues.

On Compassion: I extended compassion when a student was not admitted to the college they had dreamed of attending. They appeared crushed. They opened the letter in front of several classmates, intensifying the heartache.

I walked up to the student and discussed my college experience, spanning from an expensive private school, to community college, to California State University. I explained that there are many outstanding paths in life. I told him he is unique, talented, and can achieve many wonderful things in life by applying himself. There is no one road to success or fulfillment. Then I wrote a note to his parents telling them how much I value having him as a student. I think it created a web of support to cushion that blow somewhat. It was still a challenge, but hearing a few positives is something that I hope was helpful in the moment.

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