It’s time once again to #ShadowaStudent (runs February 19- March 2). Shadow a Student was started by School Retool, a professional development fellowship supported by IDEO that helps school leaders redesign their school culture. This is the 3rd consecutive year of this campaign, where over 5,000 educators have now cleared their calendars for the day and spent it immersed in the school lives of their students. The goal is to use the information gained from the day to improve the learning experiences for students.
The first time I intentionally shadowed a student was on the first day of a new school year. I thought it would be interesting to view the “back-to-school” excitement through the students’ eyes. As a student I had participated in plenty of first days and yet, I was in no way prepared for the reality or the boredom of what I experienced. I was shadowing an eighth grade student in a traditional middle school setting with a seven period day. The welcome back excitement from the students arriving at school, carried into the first period class where there was a quick “get to know you activity” followed by rules, syllabus and expectations. It was very teacher centric, with little engagement or participation from the students. The class went by fairly quickly but then I realized I would likely be repeating this same class structure six more times in different content areas. Ugh—my heart sank and by period four I was bored beyond belief. I found it hard to muster enthusiasm in any of the classes. What a perfect opportunity for a redesigned experience and one that, unless you look at it through the eyes of the student may not be apparent.
Shadowing a student is a very powerful experience, so powerful that it made me also think about the potential impact of shadowing a teacher. What would it look like for school leaders, principals or assistant principals, to shadow a teacher for a day? What might we learn? Teachers can be critical of school leaders that we have forgotten what it is like to be in a classroom, maybe this would be a way to reconnect with the teaching experience. Who’s in? I’d love to hear about your experience whether you #ShadowaStudent or #ShadowaTeaccher!
Make sure to #shareyourlearning!