Hello! My name is Ariel Fry and I have been serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Higher Ground Resource Center in Tucson. When I first began last summer, I knew that my project encompassed creating new systems of data collection to improve the efficacy of data review and its reflection of outcomes. But, unexpectedly, I have learned many things which went beyond my assigned job description. One of those things was lid lifting.
To be a lid lifter is to be someone who shows others that they can achieve more than they had previously thought. The leadership theory comes from an experiment performed on crickets. Exemplifying that crickets naturally jump up to 6 feet high, but if a cricket is left in a lidded jar, the cricket’s environment becomes the deciding factor of the height of its jump. Within the Law of the Lid, the lid is understood to be limits. Everyone has them. In order to lift the lid, outcomes must be relevant and accessible, there must be opportunity for growth, and often structure must be established. Throughout the lesson, my team and I were taught that in order to apply it to how we teach, guide, and help our students and community, we need to constantly be lifting our own lid.
Over the course of a year, Higher Ground has certainly been my lid lifter. I was given the opportunity to co-teach the class Computers and Technology for 4th and 5th graders. I taught students the basics of computer functions and applications, such as typing, blogging, using word to type and make cards. I also incorporated the program Google CS First into the curriculum, a free computer science program which teaches kids the basic functions of computer programming through coding stories, music, videos, and games.
I also had the opportunity to lead in community building exercises and life skills building at STAR Academic High School three days a week. Neither roles were assigned in my VAD, but I was excited to have the opportunity to teach and lead. Through my experience of teaching with the trainings in mind, like lid lifting and motivational interviewing, I found it much more challenging and rewarding.
Reflecting on the trainings that were taught at Higher Ground, I realized that none of them were your typical trainings, but more like rich life skills being taught to us with the encouragement and guidance to use the skills while you teach. This approach to teaching staff members skills that go beyond the subject of curriculum for staff and students is unique and very inspiring. Because of this experience, I will constantly be thinking not only about the life skills I was given to grow and to teach with, but also how to approach working within an organization and instilling leadership in a meaningful and impactful way.