....When getting to LHS Freshman year, not really knowing what to expect, I stayed around what I knew the best, which was RJ because I did my trainings over the summer and I sat in quite a few circles from the community program. Within the first two weeks of school, I was already Co-facilitating, and leading connection circles at team meetings. I really didn’t spend much time as a community member, but instead moved straight into facilitating.

Team facilitating was really good for me because I got to work with other people, I got the opportunity to observe how they lead the circle and learn from their skills, and start to practice how I could use them. One of the things that I learned to do really well was to ask good follow up questions to get a better understanding of the story that is being told. I learned to handle heightened emotions from the referred student and their parents.

I also learned how to manage my own anxiety in the face of that. I feel like I am more confident at upholding ground rules, keeping things respectful, carefully and skillfully naming the challenging behavior and switching back to respecting and following the ground rules.

I have noticed that my ability to talk to many different types of people has increased. Before freshman year, I knew how I was “supposed” to communicate, but now I feel more confident in using the communication skills that I have naturally. I am much better at working with parents, modulating my tone and learning to switch between talking to adults and kids.

I have a better understanding how to be more professional, and I am better at recognizing emotions, small signals and body language. I know how to relate to people of all ages, I have become more of an active listener and knowing what that entails.  When I speak, my thoughts are more organized and clear, and I try to use "I Statements" as much as possible but that is still a work in progress, because that really is not always an easy thing to do.

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