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.
Guest Blogger Mrs. Kimberly Lowden, Principal
On Friday, April 5th, I shadowed Deylin Cano Munez, a third-grade student at Truitt Intermediate. Deylin is a native of Guatemala. Deylin is a well-mannered, sweet girl who works hard to please her teacher and works diligently to complete all of her assignments.
How did it feel to be a student the day?
It was very invigorating being a student for the day. The students were very welcoming and excited about having a new classmate.
What was the most surprising part of the day?
I was very surprised at how different third grade is compared to how I remember my days as a student. The students are expected to absorb so much information in a day. They also have a great deal more environmental factors that can impact their success as they navigate through their educational experience.
What part of the day did you enjoy the most?
This experience gave me the opportunity to build relationships with students on a different level. This opportunity reiterated the love I have for children, which is the reason I chose education as a career. The day started with morning work and then transitioned to math. Students worked with a partner to play Kahoot on the Chromebooks to review for the quiz. Deylin and I came in second place! We also got to go to guidance and lunch.
What sort of empathy did you feel during the day?
Even though I had visited this classroom many times before, I quickly realized that I was not familiar with all of the routines and procedures. Thankfully, Deylin was able to assist. She showed me the signal to use the restroom and let me borrow a highlighter. Deylin also helped me log into my Chromebook. As educators, we must take steps to ensure that all learners are willing to take calculated risks and celebrate our smallest victories on our journey to success.
How has this experience helped you grow as an administrator?
I believe that this experience allowed me to view education from a different perspective. There is a great deal of pressure for students and teachers to succeed. Students are expected to learn a multitude of increasingly complex skills at a steady pace. Educators must possess the innate ability to recognize talents, potential fears, and inhibitions in children as well as mastery in methodologies enabling them to do the same. The wisdom of teaching is not in the mere transfer of knowledge, but the enablement of children to become unique individuals capable of reaching their full potential.