Brooklyn Museum Student Apprentice Program

I have been in the Brooklyn Museum Student Apprentice Program for two years now. I started out as a Junior Apprentice and became a Senior Apprentice in September of 2006. As I moved along in the program, I encountered many challenges, which were due to both certain changes in the program and myself as an individual. Due to the experiences that I faced over this past year I was tested in the sense that I was forced to think outside of the box, and really express my individuality. I became a stronger person because I gained more independence, and freedom about how I wanted to express myself.

The other Senior Apprentices and I had to deal with the fact that we were going to have a new boss, and that the program wasn’t going to be the same as in previous years. So my challenge was not only to prepare myself to adapt to the new changes, but also trying to improve myself in the process.

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I had to improve myself as a person because I never had a situation where I had to adapt to change in the workplace. I needed some type of experience to help me deal with this problem in future situations. I went about this task of adapting to changes in the program by not only to accepting the changes, but to help my new boss understand how the program was previously run in order to help my new boss maybe incorporate some of the old methods into the new plans. I could have approached this situation by simply stepping back and letting the new policies be implemented. But I tackled the circumstances by explaining and showing my new boss how things were done previously because I feel that in order to make improvements for the future the one must examine the past so that the same mistakes aren’t made.

Another problem that I faced during this past year was helping to find new apprentices for the program. As a Senior Apprentice that was a new added responsibility. The difficulty with this was I had to make a decision that would not only affect me, but reflect the program, and the museum as a whole, because the museum apprentices are a reflection of the museum, and the principles that the museum stands for. So the main challenge was finding students that fit the programs standards of showing a strong commitment and dedication to teaching in a museum environment and showing the motivation to want to improve children’s lives my giving them knowledge and helping children to appreciate different forms of art. So I confronted this challenge by working long hours with my fellow Senior Apprentices to interview and evaluate candidates for the program.

Another example is when my boss had asked who would like to teach the game of Senet to museum visitors I decided to step up to the task. I had never played Senet before, and I knew that it would take a long time for me to become skilled enough at the game in order to teach it to museum visitors. So I approached this challenge with an open mind, and used strong will power to push myself to continue practicing the game until I had a firm grasp on how the game was played so that I could teach it to people. But through my challenges of learning how to play the game, I realized that no one is perfect,including me and life’s challenges just make you stronger. Also when it came down to planning the actual tours I was presented with the problems that came with the numerous aspects of making decisions about how to present the tour. This was a major problem because different age groups approach a question with different levels of understanding, therefore grasping different knowledge of the subject matter. So my partner and I modified the questions on the tour and did research in order to approach this challenge that we were presented with. I also discussed with my partner about what I did last year on my tour when this type of situation arouse concerning the different age groups.

The Brooklyn Museum Student Apprentice Program has had a strong impact on my life. Since I have been in the program I have learned to better work with my peers as part of a team. Along with working as part of a team I have gained the reward of being able to communicate with people better. I also gained the passion to want to pursue teaching in my future. This was due to the fact that as an Apprentice I saw how I helped teach children something that they could keep with them, and hopefully pass along their newly gained knowledge to others.

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