In middle school, we had to give out a presentation about deliberate practice for English. And of course, it was a group project. I am fine with group projects, but only if everyone is doing their share of the work. I don’t want one person doing less work, but I also don’t want anyone to do more work. I basically just want everyone to do their fair share. I was on vacation in India at the time, so I got picked with three other people. Since I don’t want to give out their actual names, let’s call them 1, 2, and 3. I know, it is so creative. 2, 3, and I started discussing which topic we should use for our presentation. I told my group if they wanted to do animation or ventriloquism. Now at this point, I wanted to put ventriloquism for everything, so…yeah. When I gave out my 2 choices, they all chose animation, however, 1 was saying that we should do the topic on volleyball.
Now, I had no idea about volleyball, but everyone else agreed so I just said ok too. Look, I am one of those people that mostly goes with the crowd. So we picked volleyball and decided to find information. Now, I was doing slides with my group, and we were doing the slides together. However, when I looked at the slides now, we barely put any information down. Who was the person who picked this, 1. I did think that since he was the one who picked volleyball, they would know more than the rest of the group, but they hardly did any of the slides in their own time. We also made a group chat and 1 did not respond at all. If we asked them if they are free to work on slides, they would say nothing. They just never actually responded in the group chat. After that, it was time for our presentation in front of the class. Our presentation went ok, but our slides didn’t have enough information. Geez, I wonder why. Because of that, we got a C. I am someone who will not stand with a C, it’s either a B or an A. The teacher did say that we would redo the presentation and pick a different topic. I was willing to do and so was 1 and 2. 3 didn’t want to so we said sure. After sometime, I decided that we could do animation. I told them all that I know about animation and we started to do our slides.
Or should I say, I started on the slides. 1 and 2 didn’t even touch the slideshow. And whenever I would try to get 1s’ attention, they would just be silent and not saying anything. 2 was trying to help but they basically didn’t do crap, so I decided to ask my teacher if I could do this by myself, the teacher said yes, but wanted to see if 1 and 2 still want to do it. He went, asked, and came back with the results. These people, still wanted to do the slide show, even though they did nothing for the first time of making the slide show. I was so mad and frustrated, that I again told the teacher, and this time he said it was fine, so I did the slide show, did the presentation, and I got a B. Thank Goodness that I did it alone. This was so hard for me to do because my group members didn’t even do a lot on the slide show. From now on, I am working by myself, or with friends.
My daughter Amna says the same situation all the time. However, in their case, its a bit different. Amna contributes or does most / full of the work and finally presents as a group project and the appreciation goes to the group, where in reality is that those other members would have contributed nothing. Everyone’s excited either to choose the topic or come up with some flashy names for the project. After that poof! they’re missing until the day of presentation. But sometimes, we can inspire them to do better. We had a case where Amna and another girl was given a task to do a video on Indo-Egypt relationship. Amna thought creative and wanted to dress up as Gandhiji and she did some research and prepared a script. She described her plans with her team mate and she also got excited with the idea. Since it was Covid, she had to film their part at home and send it to Amna so that Amna could edit and add it to the video. When we got the video, it was very poorly presented. The other child was even chewing gum while recording her video, clearly an indication of zero-interest, but that she’s doing it for the sake of friendship with Amna. We decided to share Amna’s portion of the video for her viewing and asked her if she wanted to redo her part. Seeing Amna’s video, she got inspired and wanted to redo her’s. We had used chroma screen to get some visual effects. I drove to her home and lent her our chroma screen as well so she could use it. Finally she sent us a better video, which we edited along with Amna’s and made the final one. You can see it at https://youtu.be/njZUfCPcTtM . So you see, sometimes, we could inspire others by doing our part in a good way. Yeah, I know Rahi. That works only for some, but it’s definitely worth a try. And what more, I too like working solo, coz it gives me better control over things. But it is important to also learn how to work and manage teams. Even though it can be tiring at times, that’s the way you will improve your people management skills.