In-Depth, My Journey Through Volleyball: Finale

Congratulations! You picked the most entertaining In-Depth blog post to view (which was naturally going to be mine)!

I hope you’ve been enjoying your evening so far! Although the other projects don’t match up to the sheer quality of mine, they are all still worth a view. There is something so satisfying about watching progress in a short amount of time.

Now, you can sit here reading a long paragraph where I introduce my project and talk about my growth, or we can just cut right into the chase. I don’t have you all night, so let’s take the time you’ve given me and use it well.

For those who don’t know, my name is Gyu Min Jang! I’m a grade 10 TALONS learner, and I had the genius idea of pursuing volleyball for my In-Depth project this year! And because my idea was so incredibly smart, I had to grab a partner in crime as well. Devon Brooks (TALONS 10/The handsome gentlemen on the left) and I worked together with Mr. Salisbury (TALONS teacher/Gleneagle volleyball coach/Very very tall) to learn and play as much volleyball as we could in the past six months! Just below, you will find the final product of all our hard work in one, easy to access video. So without further ado, enjoy my final In-Depth presentation!

If you had any questions, compliments, or insults that you would like to give me, please feel free to comment on this post! I will try my best to answer throughout the night.

Gyu Min Jang

In-Depth, My Journey Through Volleyball #6: Zero to One Hundred

Wow. One month of time goes by quicker than you think. In the last thirty days since my last update, I have been able to play more volleyball than ever before. With a newfound interest in beach volleyball, a registration for a 6-week indoor volleyball training camp, and our first mentorship sessions in over a month, everything is looking clear for the end of this project, and where I want to be in the future.

Progress Report

There is an absolute load of information to talk about, as my spring break was almost exclusively dedicated to volleyball. My passion and determination are still running high, as I continue to practice in a multitude of ways. Firstly, I have finally step foot onto the sand.

Without a proper indoor practice in a long while, and only having practiced in the muddy fields of Glen Park for the last few weeks, I was overjoyed to hear that the nets for beach volleyball at Town Centre Park had finally been put up, just in time for spring break. This was huge for me, as the nets at Town Centre were much higher in quality with a more defined space for play. So without a moment to hesitate, Devon and I began to change our practice location from Glen Park to Town Centre, taking in our first experience with beach volleyball. The next two weeks of spring break could be summed up like this: Whenever the sun was out, I was at Town Centre playing volleyball. This is barely an exaggeration as well because I really was out more days than not during the break, from practicing with my brother to running small games with the school volleyball team. I was able to get a great sense of playing in the sand, and I felt a significant improvement in my mobility after the weeks had gone by. Of the people I have been able to practice with, I would especially like to highlight Ryan Vanlerberg-Gargus (Grade 10, GSS) and Marvin Liu (Grade 11, GSS) for being my mini-mentors during the past month. There would be a few days where just Ryan and I practiced with each other working on our spikes and serves, and I would often catch Marvin playing with his friends, in which he would then take me to another court to check my progress and give me tips. Both Ryan and Marvin have been a real help to me, and I can not only see but also feel the progress Devon and I have made thus far. Although the footage during these two weeks was scarce, I did have some footage of the very first steps of my jump serve progress. (spoiler: it was not very good)

First few tries at my jump server: https://photos.app.goo.gl/XGyhwhb8m8siUyD48

But it wasn’t just my beach skills that I’ve been honing in the last month, because Devon and I are currently in a 6-week indoor skill training volleyball camp held at Pinetree Community Centre. As volleyball enveloped my entire life, I was spending hours constantly looking for opportunities to get better at volleyball through camps such as this one. As of writing this blog post, Devon and I have been to 2/6 of these practices, and they have been a great way for us to get back into the gym and play indoors. With this contrast between playing beach with friends and honing skills during the camp, I have finally found a rhythm to my volleyball schedule, and I am very excited to see where it can lead me next.

Finally, in addition to playing games on the beach and training indoors, Mr. Salisbury, Devon, and I have been able to have a mentoring session for the first time in over a month. With no conflicting schedules (disregarding a small hiccup with an absent mentor), Mr. Salisbury was able to see the progress that Devon and I made in the month that he didn’t practice with us, which he claims to be pretty surprising. It was really rewarding to hear this because it meant that all the volleyball I played in the last month had paid off, even if it was just slightly.

At this point in time, I have had a good grasp on passing, setting, and serving for quite a while now, and I want to get lots of experience with my spiking and blocking in the time I have left. I have also been in contact with lots of local teams and their camps (Ducks being the highlight) to see whether I can find more opportunities to practice volleyball with even more people.

How to have a beautiful mind

Chapter 9: Concepts

Although the core fundamentals of volleyball can be summed up in a handful of skills, each of these skills covers unique concepts for a successful learning experience. Of these concepts, some of the most highlighted ones include:

  • Communication (before, during, and after each play): Staying motivated, focused, and moving as one body is extremely important in volleyball because it is such a face-paced sport that can drop a team’s enthusiasm very quickly.
  • Leaving no part of the court empty.
  • Adjusting to different types of sets when spiking.
  • Float vs Topspin serving.
  • Creating a passing platform (and getting your whole body to the ball if you can).
  • Setting higher is better than setting accurately as a beginner.
  • 3-step approach for spiking.
  • Staying square with your setter as you jump up to spike.

Chapter 10: Alternatives

This entire In-Depth experience has been constantly changing as I have been adapting to new changes regarding the project each week. Because of all these overlapping circumstances that have made it difficult to have mentoring sessions (schedules, locations, etc), Mr. Salisbury has been providing alternatives for Devon and I to continue to practice volleyball. From having changed locations between the school gym to a beach setting, to having mini-mentors over spring break to make up for Mr. Salisbury’s expertise, this project has especially been one of many alternatives. Depending on how things might have turned out with a different mentor, the alternatives that were offered to Devon and I may have differed as well. Our mentor might have had a more concrete schedule, providing us with exact drills to practice at home and with each other. It might have also looked like finding times outside of school (in the mornings or evenings) to go out and practice.

Conclusion

This past month has taught me a lot about the world of volleyball, both casual and professional. I have made many new friends and connections, and it finally feels like I’m at the start line for a genuine passion that can take me far in terms of personal growth. I am excited for even more volleyball in my last month of In-Depth

P.S. In terms of my learning center, I am looking to record far more footage of volleyball to hopefully put together a small and short montage. In addition to this, I may also record a skills gallery, collecting and showcasing the volleyball skills that I have grown through this project. Finally, setting up a proper game with either a senior duo or possibly Mr. Salisbury and a partner would be a great way to end off the project.

In-Depth, My Journey Through Volleyball #5: Loser’s Are The Best Learners

Hello! Welcome to blog post #5. During the last two weeks, Mr. Salisbury became a father, a volleyball has been relocated to a roof, and Devon and I have been practicing with each other.

Progress Report

To begin, Devon and I have not been able to meet up with Mr. Salisbury for quite some time now, with different reasons affecting our scheduling each week. With a new world of parenting ahead for our mentor, any free time for sessions that Mr. Salisbury might have had has now been significantly reduced. This has led to Devon and I having to practice on our own without the guidance of a mentor. Fortunately for us, we have been able to get lots of practice time outside of mentoring sessions through the use of parks and home drills. I have also considered making a change (or rather an addition) regarding my mentor. With Mr. Salisbury having such a tight schedule now, I am looking to reach out to fellow students who are experienced with volleyball for the guidance that Mr. Salisbury is unavailable to provide at the moment. This is not to say that Mr. Salisbury is obsolete from our project though, as Devon and I could always reach out to him for advice. If the circumstances are right, we may even be able to run a few mentoring sessions in the coming months with him.

Without Mr. Salisbury, Devon and I were left to practice with each other, which is exactly what we did. For the last two Wednesdays, Devon and I have been walking to Glen Park to use their nets for practices and mini-matches with each other. These sessions were really helpful as I was able to run drills with a partner instead of by myself. It also gave me an opportunity to put my skills in a match. By making our own small boundaries using the net, Devon and I were able to run our own 1 vs 1 games. We played best out of three games, with each game requiring two sets to win (you won a set by getting to ten points). Sparing the disappointing details (and lots of yelling), my lack of stamina got to the better of me as Devon was able to win the overall game on both Wednesdays. Although I was the ultimate loser, these matches were extremely fun to play as it was the closest experience to a real game I had since the volleyball season in school ended. Despite the abrupt and disappointing changes that Devon and I have been through so far, things are finally looking bright as the weather begins to warm up.

Another quick tidbit: While practicing at school with Devon last week, I lost my new volleyball to the school roof. Luckily for me, I was able to quickly purchase a new one, which is the volleyball I am currently using to practice at home.

Image of my new volleyball, which will never be close to a roof as long as I live. 

How to Have a Beautiful Mind

For this blog post, I will be transcribing a conversation between Devon and myself and identifying the “Six Hats” of thinking, which we devised by De Bono. The chat below was when I informed Devon about Mr. Salisbury’s absence as he was busy in a hospital with his wife. Although quite short, the conversation set up the next time the two of us would meet.

*Gyu Min shows Devon the email he received from Mr. Salisbury*

Gyu Min (White hat, Green hat, Blue hat): Here’s the scoop my friend. If you wanted, we could head to Glen Park and use their nets to practice after lunch tomorrow instead? Or we can just resume with Mr. Salisbury next week.

Devon (Red hat, Yellow hat): Yay! Mr. Salisbury is having his baby 😀 Also, that sounds great 🙂

Gyu Min (White hat, Black hat): So I actually have a Student Council buddies program that goes until 12. But we can start heading to the park as soon as that’s done. Think you can bring your volleyball (I still hadn’t purchased one by then)

Devon (Yellow hat): Yep! Also yeah, I’ll just hang out until 12.

 

That’s it from me this time!

In-Depth, My Journey Through Volleyball #4: Volleyball Is a Team Sport?

Hello and welcome back to my blog! If you remember my previous update on my in-depth project, you’d know that the last few weeks were not very eventful due to Mr. Salisbury, Devon, and I not being able to have any mentoring sessions. But this time around, I come bearing some good news and some bad news.

Progress Report

Cutting straight into my progress in the last two weeks, I am disappointed to say that I have still not been able to have a proper mentoring session with Mr. Salisbury since last month. I will say that these results are in no way the cause of my actions though, as I have been working hard each week contacting Devon, Ms. Anderson, and Mr. Salisbury, trying to work a schedule out. I feel like I’ve been receiving the short end of the stick in terms of this project, but I have been trying my best to adapt to the situations I’ve received. Being entirely in charge of scheduling sessions has proved to be quite stressful, as my proposals have been let down each week due to different reasons. Just two weeks ago, Ms. Anderson has told me that the school gyms have been closed for afterschool activities due to COVID cases rising within our vicinity. It was not until this last week that we had finally confirmed a mentoring session for Wednesday, which was a huge relief for me as I was able to finally play some volleyball under the guidance of Mr. Salisbury. Unfortunately, I was let down once more by both my mentor and partner. On Tuesday evening, one day before our planned mentoring session, Devon had informed me that he wouldn’t be able to make it, which came as a sudden surprise to me. Despite not having a partner though, I was still ready to practice with Mr. Salisbury, only to be informed that he double booked himself that particular Wednesday with a leadership meeting. Feeling bummed out, I decided to play some volleyball by myself at Town Centre Park that day. It got me feeling that volleyball was a solo sport. But I’ve learned that it’s at these crucial moments in life that you need to continue to look forward and stay hopeful, which is exactly what I did.

I didn’t have time to be sad. I still loved the sport of volleyball, and I was eager to learn. So I spent a few days during the past two weeks practicing volleyball with the help of my younger brother at Glen Park to make up for the lost time. Below are some small clips from those practices.

Passing

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Acj4cG2shnTsY5uX6

Setting

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UqPeJA6Hyn2ApPAKA

Serving

https://photos.app.goo.gl/C9vkP7chtkFvRwG98

Spiking

https://photos.app.goo.gl/bfGnWr3QtmJqWeCf6

As you can see, I can certainly pass, set, and serve at a decent skill level. I am aware that my spiking needs lots of work, but I am hoping that my practice will pay off by the end. During our next mentoring session, which can hopefully be this Wednesday, I am looking to receive some feedback from Mr. Salisbury regarding these clips. (and if you’re here reading this, please feel free to let me know in the comments Mr. Salisbury!)

How to Have a Beautiful Mind

Post #4 relates to De Bono’s concepts of being a good listener and asking questions. Although Mr. Salisbury and I have not had a proper mentoring session since the last update, I will try my best to connect the concepts from De Bono’s “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” with the interactions I have had both recently and from previous sessions.

When learning under a mentor, listening is the most important way for you to gain the knowledge and skills that you want, as you digest your mentor’s ideas, information, facts, insight, and discoveries. Being a good listener is what sets off the first interactions with your mentor, as it allows the mentor to know that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. When it comes to the skill of volleyball, our sessions are more heavily reliant on physical actions rather than verbal conversations. In the mentoring sessions that we’ve had so far, Mr. Salisbury has given me insight into my form and my overall plays during a match, and I have been taking in his advice and applying it immediately.

But in addition to listening, asking questions is also a good way to grow a connection with your mentor as you generate more back and forth interaction with your mentor. By asking questions, I am able to clarify Mr. Salisbury’s points and poke at his knowledge even further to gain further insight into what I am learning and why it is so effective. An example of clarifying one of Mr. Salisbury’s teachings was when we were practicing spiking a ball when the setting is in the back row. Mr. Salisbury had told me to position my left leg in front of me when getting ready to spike, as it aligns my body with the setter. I was normally used to having my right leg in front of me, so I made sure to ask him how and why I should be positioned like this. Questions such as these are the reason I am learning with my mentor rather than simply through the internet, and I find lots of value in these interactions.

Although there have been some ups and downs when it comes to my in-depth project, I can still see myself growing from these experiences.

I’ll see you next time (hopefully with a mentoring session to report on!),

Gyu Min

In-Depth, My Journey Through Volleyball #3: We’ll Be Right Back

Hi everyone! I hope your last two weeks have been amazing, as we headed into our quarter three courses for tons of new experiences.

So, the title and featured image of this blog post sort of tells you all you need to know about my progress with In-depth since the last update. As you may have already guessed, there wasn’t any massive breakthrough.

Since the beginning of February, Mr. Salisbury, Devon, and I have not been able to formally meet together to have a mentoring session. This is due to the fact that our block Y Thursdays in which we would normally practice on have been taken up by ourselves TALONS adventure trip planning. This sort of lead our mentoring sessions into a stalemate, as we needed to find a new open time for practices in the gym. During these past two weeks, I have been talking with Mr. Salisbury and Devon, as well as emailing Ms. Anderson to find a time slot in the gym in which we can practice. This has obviously been a greater challenge than I expected, as we have not been able to make any formal progress. But this is not to say that there was no progress made at all.

To make up for the lost time from our mentoring sessions, I have started to take my skill practice into my own living room, where I run drills with my younger brother. I have had a consistent practice of volleyball almost everyday since the beginning of quarter three, and I am more passionate than ever to continue. As I learn more about the fundamentals of volleyball and watch professional games online, I become more excited to learn and implement these skills when I play. In addition to practicing at home, I have also paid a visit to Glen park as they have a volleyball net set up as well. I have been working my serves and sets the most in my spare time, as I find that I need lots of improvement in those areas.

And practicing physically isn’t the only way to learn volleyball. Tools such as the Instagram explore page has helped me to watch students like me play volleyball, with various videos of games and drills. I often spend a couple minutes a day just browsing through the volleyball content on the app when I have some time, and it has kept my mind engaged on the sport at all times.

But outside of my practices at home, these last two weeks have been pretty quiet with our mentoring sessions. This will not be for long though, as I am still trying to figure out a schedule that can allow us to practice in the gym once a week.

To end on a high note, I have linked a video of the highlights from my current favorite volleyball match on YouTube. I highly recommend you to give it a watch, as it only takes 16 minutes of your time, and is extremely entertaining.

Staying motived and paitent,

Gyu Min

In-Depth, My Journey Through Volleyball #2: Things Are Really “Working Out”

Okay, before I go on, I need to address the elephant in the room: I’m sorry to anyone who fell for my amazing editing tricks, but the man on the cover of my blog post is not me. It’s actually the body of some buff volleyball player that I stuck my face onto. But with this new progress report here at the end of January, that body may not be a fantasy…

In the last month since my first blog post, Devon and I have been able to borrow half the school gym to have mentoring sessions once a week with Mr. Salisbury! We’ve had three sessions so far, with two running from 2:30-4:30 pm and one cutting a little short until 4:00 pm due to our mentor’s schedule. These sessions have involved lots of repetitive skill practice with immediate feedback from our mentor, Mr. Salisbury. Skills including serving, spiking, passing, and setting were all worked on during these last three weeks, with some notable progress being made. Devon and I were also able to get a few of our teammates from the juniors volleyball team to join us in these sessions to make practice a little more social and engaging. This also allowed us to run more drills and even play a few smaller games. I think my serve has improved the most since the volleyball season has ended, but I am also getting much more comfortable with my spike as well. The thrill of volleyball is still very much inside me, and that feeling of hitting a good spike or receiving a hard ball is one that can’t be replicated anywhere else for me. In our first practice, Devon and I were able to measure our vertical jump too, giving us a starting benchmark for how high we could jump. Both of us are hoping to have our vertical increase, so it was exciting to measure the extent of our jump before the rest of the project continues.

Below is a video of Devon and me measuring our vertical jumps. I was able to jump a maximum of 23 centimeters, but I know I have plenty of room to spare for more. Because I’m usually not the tallest player on the court, I’ve got to make it up with my jumps and my overall speed, which I am working to improve.

But on top of these mentoring sessions, Devon and I have also been working hard at home. I mentioned at the beginning that the cover image of this post might not be a complete fantasy for me. That’s because Devon and I have been following a home workout through the month of January! To work on our stamina and to stay fit in general, I have been following a youtube workout program that Devon suggested from a YouTuber known as BullyJuice! I’ve gotten familiar with his workouts at this point, and it’s been nice to find a routine of working out daily (or at least daily most of the time!). Below is the link to his channel, which I recommend to anyone who’s interested in any form of home workout:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK9JEqf7LBBx3tkrPx2xvbQ

How to have a beautiful mind

The first three habits in Edward de Bono’s book, “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” talks about how to agree, disagree, and differ as a mentee. Going into a new skill and under the wing of a mentor is sometimes intimidating, but it is important to know that the more connections you make and the conversations you have will lead to a more fruitful experience between you and your mentor. Agreeing with Mr. Salisbury has not been a problem at all. I’ve tried to be as open as possible with hearing the tips he has to give me, and I find them genuinely helpful as I continue to improve my craft. An example would be when Mr. Salisbury was telling me that my arm wasn’t fully extended while I served, so I listened to his tips and was able to apply what I learned instantaneously. Having mutual respect with each other is important when both Mr. Salisbury and I are hopefully trying to learn out of this mentoring experience. Similarly, disagreeing is still another form of making a connection. Reasons to disagree include errors in logic, limited interpretation of data, and selective perception. Although I have not had any disagreements with Mr. Salisbury so far, I know how important it is to gain a better sense of his perspective when making any remark. Finally, having a difference in opinion between the mentor and mentee is alright, as acknowledging these differences allow for a stronger sense of connection. Mr. Salisbury and I have obviously have our differences but, sharing the same goal of volleyball has allowed us to bond.

Overall, I am still more than excited to continue with volleyball, and I hope to make even more improvements!

See you next time. Gyu Min

In-Depth, My Journey Through Volleyball #1: “Serving” a New Course

Picture the summer of 2020. In the midst of the pandemic filled summer was a bored 15-year-old who had seen just too many YouTube videos for any normal human, even in quarantine. Unmotivated and unamused, he rummages the house’s storage closet to find a cheap and flat volleyball that looks like it hasn’t been used for years. It all began with just a single pass. Or at least it was supposed to be a pass. My first proper introduction to the sport of volleyball had sparked a new flame for me to fan as I spent my days inside playing and watching all things related to volleyball for the next few months.

Fast forward to January of 2021. I spent the second half of last year continuing to play volleyball as a way to kill time, even joining the juniors volleyball team at Gleneagle. I fell in love with watching professional volleyball matches, and I am an avid fan of the popular Japanese volleyball anime “Haikyuu!!” as well. The sport that was mostly obscure to me just one year ago has now taken over my hobbies. When it came time for my second and final In-Depth project, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Amazon.com: S-ANT Haikyuu Anime Poster 24in x 36in Sport Volleyball: Posters & Prints Poster from the first season of Haikyuu!!

JAPAN vs. BRAZIL - Highlights | Men's Volleyball World Cup 2019 - YouTube Thumbnail of my favorite volleyball match (Japan vs Brazil in Men’s Volleyball World Cup 2019)

During the next five months, I will be learning and applying the fundamentals of volleyball. On top of honing my passes, sets, spikes, serves, and blocks, I will also be improving my overall fitness and health, especially when it comes to stamina. Although I had my chance to play some more volleyball through the Gleneagle team, I am still craving to improve my skills and have more playtime before grade 11. In terms of my skills as of now, I am decently confident in my ability to pass and serve once in every blue moon. Basically, I have set the bar very low, which only motivates me to work harder.

But volleyball is not a one-man sport. Aside from my mentor, it would be helpful if I had someone else pursuing the same project as me so that we could work together. Luckily, my buddy Devon Brooks has taken this opportunity alongside me. If you don’t remember, I also worked with a partner for my In-Depth project last year in which Indah and I learned how to hip-hop dance with our mentor Kailey. With that experience under my belt, I can confidently say that having a friend while learning a new skill is insanely beneficial and just much more enjoyable. Devon is a close friend of mine, and I know we’ll be able to get far together. And he’s also a tall guy, so I’ve got to be able to step up to his natural talent of height as well.

 The man, the myth, the legend: Devon Brooks in the flesh.

Now, you know the “what” and the “why”, but this project is still missing a crucial component: “how?” And to answer I must introduce the most important piece to this puzzle. For this year’s In-Depth project, Devon and I will be mentored by none other than Mr. Salisbury!

Mr. Salisbury holding a piece of paper.

A teacher, coach, and soon-to-be father, Mr. Salisbury gladly took up our request to become our mentor in this volleyball journey. Having coached both the juniors and seniors volleyball team this year, he is more than knowledgeable in the sport and can offer specific advice on our progress thanks to his experience.

Starting this month, Devon, Mr. Salisbury, and I will be finding time after school for mentoring sessions that will hopefully be taking place in our school gym. During these sessions, Devon and I will be learning and practicing the volleyball skills that Mr. Salisbury highlights as we begin to build our toolbox of fundamentals. But practicing volleyball only once a week? I think Devon and I have a little more energy than that. In addition to our mentoring sessions with Mr. Salisbury, Devon and I will frequently meet up at local parks to practice ourselves. This, along with the practice we can do at home, will hopefully become the recipe for success! (spoiler for our final presentation: we will be recording as much footage of our progress as possible to create a final montage video!)

I’ve never been an insanely active person, so being able to spend five months dedicating myself to volleyball is quite exciting. I’m not looking to become the next athlete prodigy through this project, but I am hoping to have significant improvements throughout the months. To start us off before anything else, Devon and I have taken up a 30-day workout challenge for the month of January to build some strength and improve our fitness overall. We have yet to arrange our bookings with the school gym, but that will be the next step in the process.

As a way for you to enjoy my blogs a bit more, I’ve decided to take a more casual route to write them this year, including images and inserting jokes once in a while. I really am dedicated to this skill, so I want nothing but the best out of the whole experience, and I hope you can enjoy my reports to follow me along the ride!

Signing off, Gyu Min

Robert Downey Jr. Learning Center

Good evening everyone! I’m Robert Downey Jr. and welcome to my virtual learning center!

It really is a shame that I couldn’t be meeting with everyone in real life; I know I would’ve stolen the show all night! But we gotta work with what we have, and that was a poor camera and a week of preparation for me. But without further ado, I present to you my learning center:

Please feel free to ask me anything down below in the comments as well, thanks.

-RDJ

Core Competencies Q1 Reflection

QUESTIONS:

1. During Quarter 1, what went well for you? Explain. Examples: being back in the classroom, having only two courses, seeing my friends, keeping up with homework, playing volleyball, improving math, helping plan a virtual assembly, becoming more fit.

One change with the new quarter system in school that I was quite pleased with was the number of courses I had. Rather than having up to six different courses a day like last year, I would only have a maximum of three to four courses a day, with some days even having just one course in-person. Although these blocks were longer than last year, I had a much easier time managing my classes and my workload. I was able to go more in-depth and focus on only a handful of subjects at any given point, which made school both less stressful and more effective for me coming into such a different year. I actually preferred having shorter and longer days during the week, so I could spend more time doing work at home and taking needed breaks.

2. During Quarter 1, what did you find challenging or disappointing, or stressful? Explain.

One obstacle that I faced as a learner in quarter one was the lack of interactions I was able to have with students around the school. Due to all the COVID-19 protocols, I was limited to conversing only with my classmates and nobody else from different parts of the school. Although I am grateful that we are still allowed to talk with our classmates in general, I found that my determination and overall enjoyment for school could have been higher if I was able to meet and talk with many of my friends outside of my classes. This became very apparent during lunches when I would often resort to simply browsing on my laptop or phone for the entire duration.

3. Think of ONE thing you really want to improve in Quarter 2 (and Q 3&4). Examples: a school subject, a sport, time spent on homework/studying, playing a musical instrument, leadership skills, a language, photography, a relationship, general fitness.

One major goal that I have going forward for the rest of the year would be to get more comfortable at playing volleyball. Having joined the jr. volleyball team, I have committed myself to practice and getting better at the sport already. Both for my personal enjoyment as well as my health and fitness, taking on a new sport during a time in which unique opportunities are not common has been an amazing blessing, and I wouldn’t want the chance to go to waste.

4. What are two specific actions that you can start doing every day to get closer to your goal? How long will you spend on this action each day? What part of the day?

a) Whenever I am in bed (taking a break from work, right before sleeping), I like to set the ball to myself to become more comfortable and confident with the motion.

b) Eating breakfast becomes crucial when you have an intense practice session, so I have tried to eat a healthy meal before going to school every day, whether that be a banana or some toast.

5. If you experience challenges, what might you do to work through them? Examples: ask help from a friend or parent; break the task into smaller chunks; “google” how other people may deal with similar problems.

Making sure to set clear and small goals is an effective way to avoid challenges and work past them. By taking on a task one step at a time, you are able to quickly troubleshoot any challenges that may occur and can adjust your plan accordingly.

Developing the Leaders Around Me

Session 1: The Law of Explosive Growth

In John C. Maxwell’s “Developing the Leaders Around You,” The Law of Explosive Growth talks about how the methods you use to lead in your organization can widely affect its growth and success. In Maxwell’s book,
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leader, the law is explained by saying to add growth, you lead followers, while to multiply growth, you have to lead leaders. By leading and developing your own leaders, you are not only helping that individual and yourself but the entire organization’s efficiency. I liked Maxwell’s use of adding and multiplying as terms because I believe they represent the effect of each leading style very accurately. If I was a 10 and I was leading another 10 as a follower, our team would only be a 20. I have simply added another 10 to my own. While this is not the wrong way to lead, if I were to lead that 10 as a leader, which is represented by multiplication, our team would skyrocket into a 100 compared to the measly 20 we had before. The ability to lead and develop someone who could take your own position is both a very risky but rewarding act that responsible leaders will need to do for a growing organization.

I chose this principle because I have always had a similar mindset to this law, in which any group should be aiming for multiplication between their teammates rather than addition. Once mentioned in my wrap-up TALONS call back in June, if we as learners can build each other up and grow as we go, we will surely be multiplying our efforts. 

This law simply highlights the significance of developing leaders, which through these sessions I have learned is a crucial factor to a good team. By mentoring the grade 9s and supporting my fellow grade 10 learners in event planning and other projects, the TALONS community as a whole will be a strong household for a plethora of leaders.

Session 2: Leaders have the ability to make things happen.

Maxwell’s principle about how leaders have the ability to make things happen is a resonating fact with me as a leader. The whole purpose of a leader is to lead, and I believe that starts with going out there and making something happen. When the leader becomes the first example of whatever they are trying to accomplish, followers will naturally come as they see the momentum that you have already built up yourself. A leader is a momentum maker – they say and do things that start momentum. It’s the ability to think differently and simply going for it that makes a leader so interesting to follow. Having ambition and being committed will attract the right kind of followers which you could then develop into leaders. 

As stated earlier, this principle resonates with me for a multitude of reasons. To sum it all up though, I simply agree with Maxwell’s point of how a leader has the ability to make things happen. I believe I live and breathe this quote most of the time with my creative and ambitious personality that takes me to uncharted grounds all the time. I have been able to make things happen and start ripple effects wherever I go, which I believe is the most important goal of a leader. 

As this school year is different than anything else we’ve had before, we as leaders are expected to adapt and think of new creative ways to keep the heart of TALONS in our class. This means that each of us will have to make things happen that have never been done before in the program. And although there is still a possibility of failure from our actions, it is simply the heart to go out and try it that makes a leader so impactful.  

Session 3: People do what people see

Maxwell made a great point in his 3rd session of “Developing the Leaders Around You,” in which he talks about the importance of modeling and that people will do what they see rather than what they hear. “No matter what you teach the child, he insists on behaving like his parents.” We as humans are naturally born to follow what we are seeing, expecting that it is the right thing to do. 89% of our learning comes from a visual standpoint, and we tend to learn most skills and concepts when we are being shown how it works with our own eyes. When we are teaching good concepts to the people around us, but demonstrating bad examples, the people I have taught will now take inspiration not from my words but from my actions. It is simply how we think and learn from each other, so it is so crucial to be able to do what we teach.

I chose this principle as I have related to its effects countless times both at home and at school. Specifically, when I tried to learn the backflip over the summer, I found it very difficult to listen to my dad’s advice as he himself wasn’t able to perform what he was teaching, but rather highlighting what he is seeing with his own eyes. This creates a disconnect between my dad and me as I cannot see how I am performing and can’t understand my dad’s advice most of the time. I found it much more helpful to watch videos of people who have already learned the backflip and take the advice that they had. 

Being a grade 10 TALONS learner, I believe it is important that I am able to model what I am teaching so that I am able to effectively develop the leaders within each of the grade 9 talons learners. I wouldn’t want to confuse anyone’s method of leading through my lack of ability to do what I teach. 

Session 4: I Motivate

The ability to motivate yourself and your team is often overlooked. Being able to genuinely trust your team and work as one group is already a task on its own, but this becomes much more difficult when you are expected to keep the morale of your team up. The Chinese poem known as Go to the people preaches about how you can go to the people to learn and build on what they have but most importantly that you can unite with the people to accomplish great things. A leader must consistently try to raise their own and other’s leadership levels for a more effective team that is highly motivated.

I chose this principle as I believe it is the one that I need to work on the most out of this entire book. As I was evaluating myself on the question that related to the “I Motivate” principle, I noticed that there was still much more I had to learn, and much more I could change about my leadership mindset. I need to able to trust that my team can produce stronger and more creative ideas than if I were to think on my own, and I must be able to let go of my positions for a more effective teammate.

Motivation is such a broad yet impactful term that we could all use a little more of in these times.  By keeping a clear goal and taking small steps to achieve them, we are already motivating the team to accomplish tasks as quickly as possible. This will be important when we begin to plan our leadership events and adventure day trips, as the tasks can become confusing and many will fall under the pressure of it all.