Grant Wiggins in his blog Authentic Education spoke with an experienced teacher who became a Learning Coach at her school. When asked what she had learnt most in her coaching role she replied, “Shadowing a student for a day”.
Walking the the shoes of our students is something most of us rarely consider and yet what an incredibly powerful experience and positive way to gain insight into the world of young learners. As part of the teacher’s experience shadowing students she realised that not only do we as teachers underestimate the level of concentration required of students to sit still for extended periods of time, but we also expect sustained levels of high performance. “I could not believe how tired I was after the first day. I literally sat down the entire day – except for walking to and from classes. We forget as teachers, because we are on our feet a lot. I was drained.”
Fortunately through this student shadowing opportunity, the teacher is now able to coach others about the importance of movement in learning and the need to actively engage students.
“I have a lot more respect and empathy for students after just one day of being one again. Teachers work hard, but I now think that conscientious students work harder.”
Walking the shoes of others offers great insight and value to us as educators.