Friday, November 8, 2019

So Much To Learn: A Teacher’s Journey Shadowing a Student

James is a senior here at Naperville Central High School that I have known from when he as a soccer player on the freshman team that I coached. I recently had the opportunity to shadow James to see what it feels like to be a student at this school. He graciously allowed me to follow him around for an entire day of classes, even lunch and P.E., and I had a blast. What a great day!

The question that students asked me over and over all day was WHY?  Why are you shadowing a student?  My quick answer was, "I want to know what a high school student goes through every day."   It was an eye-opening experience and I’m so grateful to our administration for encouraging me to do this.

My Big Takeaways
1.  I sat in my seat for five 50-minute periods without moving.  STUDENTS NEED TO MOVE IN CLASS.

2.  I went with a group of friends to Dunkin' Donuts for lunch. We all brought our lunches in and some of the guys ordered donuts for dessert.  I had never before realized the positives of going out to lunch.  The change of pace that occurs from taking a break in the middle of the day was amazing.    CHOICE and FREEDOM ARE LIFE GIVING.

3.  I met Harold in Anatomy and Physiology class.  We became very close in a short amount of time.  You see, we were dissecting Harold the rabbit.  That was a complete thrill.  LEARNING BY DOING was one of my favorite things of the day.

4.  I got called out for having the wrong shirt in PE class.  Thankfully my dad did not receive a call from school.   KNOW THE RULES.

5.  Students are basically working from 7:45 to 3:15 at school—a 7.5 hour workday.  And that doesn’t include the hours of homework. It is exhausting.   WE TEACHERS GIVE TOO MUCH HOMEWORK. I'm glad I didn't have to do all the homework James had to do that night.  I vow to lower my homework demands.

6.  James was an amazing host.  He answered so many of my questions.  In every class there were respectful interactions.  The students at Naperville Central High School are terrific.  WE HAVE GREAT PEOPLE AT OUR SCHOOL

7.  By “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” I feel more in tune with my students' needs. Every teacher should shadow a student for a day!  WE NEED MORE COMPASSION

EVERY ADMINISTRATOR, COUNSELOR, PARENT, and TEACHER should Shadow a Student for a day.  Here is the hashtag I used on twitter #shadowastudent  Click here to check out the tweets that day...

This is my third time shadowing a student.  Here are links to the other blog posts about shadowing a student.  The first was in 2012 when I shadowed Neal a freshman.  The second time was in in 2014 when I shadowed Kyle a junior.