Two Difficult Simple Questions

I am trying to learn more about my student help desk workers, but I have not even met all of them yet.  I needed to get another piece of information from them for planning, so in the same survey, I asked them these two “simple” questions:

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What would you like to get better at?

I didn’t know whether they would even respond.  Those are not easy questions for me to answer for myself.  But, they responded, and their responses really made me think about how I approach supervision.

So, what stood out to me about their answers?

First, many of the things my student workers said they want to get better at are interpersonal, collaborative skills.  These are skills that don’t necessarily have a college class attached to them, but they are nonetheless vital to personal and professional success in the career fields that go along with their declared majors.  Also, the same skills showed up for students who have very different majors, highlighting even more the need for strong 21st Century Skills regardless of one’s projected career path.

Second, some of the students put the same answer for both questions.  No matter how good we are at something, we can set goals to get better.  That’s part of finding our passion in life.

Third, as I am reading through the list of things that my students are good at, and want to get better at, I am thinking of initiatives that we might pursue at the IT Help Desk.  I am thinking about projects we might work on that would allow students to make good use of their skills, and practice new ones.  I am thinking of projects that I might never have considered for the IT Help Desk if I didn’t have my students’ answers to those two simple questions.

And I expect the results to be as amazing and inspirational as their complex answers to my simple questions.

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