This past Friday, I had the great opportunity to shadow a Nipmuc student for the day. Katie Salenius volunteered to be shadowed and I was so happy to get to know her and see how she spends her day at Nipmuc. I did not really know Katie before this experience, so it was so nice to get to know her as a student and hang with her friends for the day.
Before the day: I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for the day. It has been 15 years since I was in high school, so I was definitely interested to see how high school has changed. Even though I am with these students every day, it was a totally different experience to be one of them for the day. When I was in high school, there was no technology in the classroom and there was no texting throughout the day. I already knew that our students spend a lot of time on their phones, but it was interesting to see that the phones NEVER go away! I guess that shows my age 🙂
First Block: Our day started in AP US History. I was nervous because I knew an AP level class would be difficult. Luckily for me, they were reviewing for a test. So I was able to absorb some of the information that they were reviewing. We then played a Kahoot. And amazingly, I came in 10th! I was so proud of myself, because History was never my forte in high school. Katie showed me what they have to review for the test and what the AP test consists of, I am in awe of how much these students have to remember for these tests!
Second Block: After break, we headed off to Pre-calc. As a language teacher, I was definitely worried about remembering math from all those years ago. We played a partner activity with some equations. At the end, only my problems would be graded for everybody to receive a 100 quiz grade. So to say that I was feeling the pressure, would be an understatement. Each partner that worked with me did such a great job explaining the equations and I even started remembering how to do the problems on my own! The best part of this was getting help from the students and watching them explain it to me in their own way. I was very impressed.
Third Block: Chemistry class was next. First thing I did was make the biggest science classroom faux-pas and had my bottle of water on the lab table. Whoops! Here we reviewed work that the students had done throughout the week. We talked about electrons and how to connect elements together.
Fourth Block: AP English Language was another great example of seeing all the great work that our students are capable of. The students had just received their mock exams back and two students were selected to share theirs with the class. Hearing how our students can express themselves in writing for these tests was inspiring. They all did such a great job, and they were learning from mistakes made, so they can get the best score possible on the upcoming AP test.
Fifth Block: Last block of the day was Physical Education. This class was finishing up getting certified for CPR. So I did not get to participate too much but it was still great to see the students doing great work.
What I learned during my day as a junior:
- It is tiring – our students sit all day long, and that can be more tiring than being a teacher up and moving. I have a new appreciation for our students and how much they need to get up and get moving during the day. I will be trying to incorporate more activities that gets the students up and engaged. I think they will perform better with that adjustment.
- Quick turnover between classes – I now can understand those first 5-10 minutes of each class when it is hard for students to transition to the next class. It is hard to spend an hour doing one subject and then be expected to completely change gears in a matter of minutes. Now that I know this, I will hopefully be able to make the transition easier for my students when they enter my class.
- Our students are amazing – I am in awe of what our students are able to accomplish at school and still have time for all of their extra curricular activities. I was very active in sports in high school, but with the help of a study hall every day I had more time to get stuff done. These students are “on” all the time, and that takes a lot.
- This was such an eye-opening experience that will hopefully change how I run my class as well. I would highly recommend any educator to take this kind of opportunity.
Thank you to Mr. Clements for allowing me to take the opportunity and thank you to Katie for being such a great guide throughout the day. Hopefully I will get this opportunity again!