Shadow a Student Series – Directors

Spring can be a particularly busy season for educators. As administrators, in particular, your days can quickly be filled with meetings, testing schedules, teacher observations, and so many other tasks. But the spring can also be a great time to evaluate and reflect on the practices that have shaped your school culture so far this year and still have plenty of time to make adjustments as needed so your students finish the school year strong.

With that idea in mind, I recently issued the Shadow a Student Challenge to my administrators. It’s designed to be a fun, illuminating, and supportive journey where educators come together to empathize with their students. Hopefully, the experience and observations of shadowing lead to insights that fuel positive change. The concept is simple, but the results can be powerful. I’m excited to hand over my blog in this Shadow a Student Series as a place where they can share these experiences with you.


Dr. Dalphine Joppy, Director of Staff Development Guest Blogger Dr. Dalphine Joppy, Director of Staff Development Dr. Joppy in P.E.

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, I had the awesome opportunity to shadow a really cool freshman at Hickory High School – Emma Kathleen Seigle. 

How did it feel to be a student for a day?
From the sedimentary rock lesson in first block to the Spanish III test in fourth block, my day was busy and exciting.  I could not believe Emma failed to inform me about the Pacer Test in gym! Nevertheless, I dressed out, gave it my all and did not embarrass Emma! 

How is school different from when you were a student?
High school is much like I recall (many moons ago); however, the use of technology has grown and made learning even more engaging.  It was nice to see the teachers in action and to sit with Emma and her classmates to observe their interaction with the content, the teachers, and each other.  

How has this experience helped you grow as an educational leader?
After this experience, I am even more motivated to seek out, design, and provide professional development opportunities for teachers that help them deliver explicit instruction that is engaging and differentiated while maintaining a well-managed classroom environment.


Mrs. Jacqueline Tate, Director of Elementary Curriculum and InstructionGuest Blogger Mrs. Jacqueline Tate, Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction

On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, I shadowed Ryo, a first-grade student who attends Western Branch Primary School. From the time our day began, I was actively engaged in some sort of meaningful activity.

What was the most surprising part of the day? Mrs. Tate shadows a student.
While I frequently visit classrooms across the city, it has been a long time since I spent an entire day in one classroom. The most surprising thing about my day was the realization that children today are very tolerant and accepting of individual differences. The empathy and kindness I witnessed certainly warmed my heart.

What was your favorite part?
While I enjoyed every aspect of my day, I really loved the way teaching and learning occurs in Mrs. McCutcheon’s classroom.  As a student, I found that I was excited about each aspect of the day. I also found that I was more invested in the learning goals established for the day because of the support of my table mates. 

Do you plan to shadow a student again? Western Branch Primary teacher using the smartboard.
I will most certainly shadow a student again!  I made several new friends in Mrs. McCutcheon’s class…all because Ryo accepted me (the new kid) and took me under his wing! 

How has this experience helped you grow as an educational leader?
This experience has helped me grow as an educator by reminding me of the need to consistently reflect on and assess situations as they pertain to the children we serve.  We tend to get so caught up in the daily tasks associated with educational leadership that we can easily lose sight of what is MOST IMPORTANT…the teaching and learning of children.