As the instructor, it’s a job of education, the experience I got from the camp refers to “Functionalism” view of education; it provides pathways into the structure of society. Last summer I participate in Taylor Statten over night Camp as the instructor, the campers are ages from 10-14. The camp was mainly outdoor activities, which leading the kids to experience the nature of forest, and only one-hour indoor activities daily. It was my first time to be the instructor. Basically we spent all day with the kids, and distributed different tasks to them and particulate within the tasks.
The outdoor activities included hiking, canoeing and campfires; indoor activities include performing arts and handwork. The instructors need to consider kids’ safety and train them the ability of strain capacity, in order to strengthen their mind and body. During the time I had spent as the instructor, I experienced role distancing. As Brym and Lie mentioned in the textbook, “role distancing involves giving the impression of just going through the motions and that we lack serious commitment to a role” (Brym and Lie 2012: 83).
People want to make good impression of the role they are playing, but if individual happens to disagree with the expectations of the role they are playing, the individual want to give others an impression of the role they are playing are not who they really are. When people interact with others, according to Brym and Lie “onstage, people typically try to place themselves in the best possible light” (Brym and Lie 2012: 83). Role distancing is the distance from the role you are being required to play and the act of presenting yourself.
There is one particular example of role distancing during my experience in the hike activity in the camp. Being as the instructor we cannot helping kids to finish their tasks, but we need to ensure kids always stay in the safety environment. When we hike toward our camping station, everyone has to carry his or her own baggage, which includes your camp equipment and daily supplies. The baggage was heavy to carry on; some kids told me that they felt the baggage is the same weight as them.
When we hike through the forest, lots of kids fell on the ground because it’s difficult to walk in the forest with a heavy backpack, some of them asked for our help, as the “true” me I would definitely help them out, because few kids seemed not strong enough to carry the baggage, but as the instructor I couldn’t help, its against the policy. During the last few days of the camp, I explained to the kid’s that I require you to finish all the difficult tasks by yourselves because I performed my duty, however, I’m not a mean person.
It is the role I’m playing distanced from my true self. The conclusion I had after experienced of role distancing according to functionalism. First, the group solidarity is extremely important, in the hiking activity, we all need to have shared beliefs of arrive at camp station before sunset because we still have to set tents when we arrived, I need to be serious with kids so they could understand more of the circumstance.
Besides I felt being the role of instructor, I need to maintain group stability, because during hiking two girls cried, they asked to go back home because they are tired and scared, as the instructor I have to comfort them and persuade them to keep going. However, overcome the moody emotion is the most important issue of stability. At the same time re-establish equilibrium of physical and mentally are extremely important, take several breaks during hiking, I share some funny stories to the kids during the break, in order to help kids to re-establish equilibrium.
How functionalism helps me understand this experience of role distancing is being the instructor of the camp are part of this camp structure, I played an important role as part of the hiking activity, mainly to maintain group solidarity, stability with same belief and value shared and re-establish equilibrium kids’ minds and bodies to achieve our goal. We play different roles everyday, the roles we play that we want to perform the best possible light of ourselves in front of others.
The discipline of these rule sometime distance ourselves from the rule, being the instructor in the summer camp I have to perform a different person against my own will of handling situations, but the character I played was importantly within the camp organization. The instructor help the camp accomplished the function they perform in the society, help children improve themselves meanwhile to improve the future of society.