Earlier this week I taught CPR to a group of teenagers. They were from a program run by Corazon Community Services of Cicero. I was nervous as I walked into a building I had never been in with a group of people I had never met. I have taught strangers countless times as an AmeriCorps instructor, but the nerves are always there at the beginning. As we started the class, we waited for someone to bring a laptop and projector so that we could play the DVD that is crucial to the teaching of the course. As an instructor you have to be able to adapt to many situations like this.
I quickly learned that this was going to be a fun group. With a good mixture of guys and girls, quiet and boisterous, we began what was to become a treasured experience of mine. Students who had just finished a school day were enjoying themselves and learning how to save lives at the same time! The usual silliness ensued and practicing the checking of an unconscious adult became hilarious and educational at the same time. What inspired me was that these people really wanted to learn, even when it was difficult.
The second day was even better! The students were enthusiastic and had a blast performing CPR on mannequins. The questions kept coming and the students even enjoyed themselves!
I must admit, like most people I tend to initially judge people based on appearances. This time I was gladly broken of my own stereotypes. The students were inquisitive and were asking questions that showed how intelligent they were. I find this especially exciting because from time to time, when I tell people that I teach in Cicero, their response is one of disdain and apprehension. I smile to myself and think of the many amazing experiences I have had in Cicero, including teaching a group of teenagers.