Shadow A Student Reflections

This is a guest post from Kelly Cosgrove. She recently spent the day in the life of a high schooler and I saw her tweets during the day… and was completely intrigued! She was kind enough to share her thoughts here for all of us to learn from. If you want to find out more about Shadow A Student challenge, please check out the resources here!

My role at school? Systems of Support Advisor who helps provide support and interventions for students behaviorally and academically.

The student that I shadowed was an african american freshman who is enrolled in all honors classes for her core classes.

My schedule was as follows:

  • 1st period – PE
  • 3rd period – Biology HN
  • 5th period – World History 1 HN (D lunch – 12:50 – 1:20)
  • 7th period  – English 9 HN

Our school follows the block scheduling format and classes are about 90 minutes long.

I had several memorable experiences during my opportunity to shadow my student.

The first thing that resonated with me was how welcoming all of my teachers were. I felt emotionally safe to learn which also helped me with the desire to do my best work in class. I believe that the students felt this way, as well.

Everyone followed directions and did their best to complete everything that was asked of them by their teachers.

My second most memorable experience was the WH1 HN class. I loved seeing the diversity of the students in the class. I enjoyed collaborating with my small group as we learned about the history of Islam. Honors classes weren’t nearly as diverse when I was a student with FCPS schools, which really played a factor in my decision to take a challenging course.

My third most memorable experience was having the students cheer me on as I ran the pacer in PE. It was nice to see the students support me as well as each other as we worked to complete a common goal. I definitely wasn’t expecting to have to run for a grade in PE so having that extra support from the students was really nice!

What surprised me was how tired (mentally and physically) I was at the end of the school day. There was not one minute wasted in class. Teachers were prepared! Expectations were made clear right when the bell rang about the learning targets and activities that would be completed for the day. Whether a test/quiz, collaboration activity, or taking notes from the teacher’s lecture, my brain was working! LOL! The teacher preparation portion was a little bit of a shock to me because I wasn’t expecting every teacher to be prepared with the lessons/activities for the day. Maybe I was secretly hoping for a little bit of downtime to rest my mind. LOL!

During my shadowing time, I had three types of assessments to and it was A LOT to do in one day in my opinion. However, my student, being the positive ray of sunshine that she is, was just going with the flow and didn’t appear overwhelmed at all.

However, it still made me wonder if my school would consider doing a school-wide scheduled day for assessments where students take test for certain subjects on certain days of the week.

For example, Math on Monday, Social Studies on Tuesday, etc. I think that considering this for will help with time management especially at home, when preparing/studying for assessments. This will also help keep students from having to take (and prepare for) multiple exams on the same day.

In conclusion, this experience has allowed me to understand how resilient our students truly are. They are juggling several things at once while having the pressure and/or desire to do well across all settings. My respect and empathy for our students has increased greatly. It has made me a better educator and I will always keep this experience in mind when working with our students and families.

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