I’m not a fan of long blog posts. Maybe it’s my short attention span but I like succinct information. However, I had an experience today that I could write a great deal about. I participated in the Shadow a Student Challenge and randomly selected one of our students. I spent the day with my friend, Ansar, a 2nd grader. Interestingly, Ansar was sick for three days before returning today, the day I shadowed him. What a trooper. I could tell he wasn’t feeling 100%, but he gave 110%. I had an amazing day riding the bus with Ansar, having Spanish and music, enjoying recess and lunch, and being inspired and entertained by the teacher, Mr. Ike. Like I said earlier, I could write tons about my experience, but I’m going to describe my top three takeaways:
1. Developing relationships is so important. Because Mr. Ike has focused on this, he had his students eating out of his hands. He told stories, made jokes, brought in props, shared artifacts, had them lying on the floor, made them walk around the room observing, let them dance and sing, and they were fully engaged. He’s got some live wires but even they responded to their teacher because relationships have been established and they didn’t want to disappoint him.
2. 2nd graders have full days! While we adults may get breaks, prep time, and duty free lunch, these kids are on all day. Here’s what we were engaged in that day: breakfast, collecting books for upcoming book bazaar, morning meeting, spelling review, Spanish, music, math, recess, lunch, dance party, learning about a wooden trunk, Sparkle game, spelling test, guest reader, group meeting, literacy instruction, reading test, read aloud, science inquiry, and some extra outside physical activity. It was such a full and busy day that I collapsed for a nap on the couch when I got home.
3. Teachers are amazing. They are magicians, story tellers, actors, actresses, comedians, counselors, nurses, parents, mediators, singers, dancers, artists, musicians, and so much more. I remember thinking of the magic happening in the classroom that day multiplied by all the amazing teachers at my school and being in awe of what teachers accomplish on a daily basis.
If you have never participated in the Shadow a Student Challenge, I highly recommend it. Find a day and block yourself out for a full, rich, genuine experience. You’ll be glad you did!