Saturday, 1 September 2012

Lessons learned from an Intern

Now let me say this: Our intern Jen this past summer was great! She made a great impact on students their families and our staff. It was great having her work along side of us for almost 4 months and we wish her all the best as she returns to school for the fall, and maybe she will have pity on us and come back next summer! 

Having an intern is hard work and I learned that this summer.

From May- mid August we received a government grant to hire an intern to work in our youth and children's ministry. I was pumped, free cash for free work. My life was going to be a breeze, I was going to focus most of my time and efforts on things I really wanted to, while having an intern help me with my already amazing job.

Then BOOM! Reality set it. I have to find this person 40 hrs a week of work, plus do my own work and oversee what she was doing and make sure she is plugging into our other ministries effectively and fluidly as well? This is crazy. That's when I learned some hard lessons.

Lessons Learned:

1) Have all the staff ready with possible projects- other staff members knew we had an intern coming in, but they didn't think about jobs/projects our intern could learn and help us with. For instance we had Vacation Bible School and we forgot to slot a place for Jen initially. (Thankfully she got involved and was helpful despite our mix up)

2) Workspace Essentials- We had a table set up in the office that would be Jen's desk for her arrival, but we forgot to stock it with the things she might need. Fortunately this one was an easy repair, and she collected things as we went, but I think it would be nice having a stocked desk when you arrived somewhere.

3) Review Review Review- I spent some time debriefing with Jen, but I don't think enough. Internships are about learning from one another, and as the supervisor being able to impart some wisdom and future guidance. Looking back I can see some spots where more clear review and debriefing could have made greater impacts.

4) Clear expectations- This summer I was frustrated at times because of my intern, but looking back it was almost never her fault. It was mine, I didn't give clear directions here, or I assumed something there. In the future I will be sure that no matter who the intern that I don't make assumptions but rather I am clear and give full directions.

I hope I have learned my lesson, and I am extremely thankful for the time Jen put in with us this summer. She helped a lot, taught us some things and I hope she can say the same from us.

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