Thursday, October 18, 2012

Teachers being a Student for a Day

We've been collecting books for our 'test subjects.'

In Tech Research class we stir up a project called 'Education Revisited' where we look at how technology has challenged and shifted learning, education... and schools.

... and a discussion on 'what is it really like to be a student?' quickly evolved into 'Teachers becoming students for couple of days.'

We've proposed some great things over the years in the Lab to administration and this idea took off like a rocket in discussions.

We drafted up the idea that three teachers become a student over two days, along with with all appropriate expectations each student has placed upon them. We polished it up a bit and presented the idea to the administration. The school's Executive Team discussed the issue and approved a schedule where 5 teachers would participate for one day instead.

Modified... but approved!

Teachers were hand picked to reflect diverse subjects taught and at different stages of their teaching careers. Here's a list of of the teachers who will be 'Student for a Day.'

Oct 30th:
Scott Clausen, English
Meg Kenny, Administration
Mary-Rita Manley, Math
Pete Nicholson, English

Oct 31st:
Dave Miceli, Social Studies, Psychology

Students in Tech Research designed full academic schedules for each participating teacher and also the following guidelines:
  • Pick up their class schedule in the Lab the day before their assigned student day
  • Teachers must negotiate getting the appropriate supplies for their classes
  • Park in the assigned student parking lot in the morning
  • Attend all classes and advisory as a regularly scheduled student
  • Eat in the cafeteria with no special privileges aka cutting in line and must pay for their lunch before eating
  • Attend an extra-curricular activity and participate in some way for the full duration
  • Be assigned an equivalent amount of homework in each class and prepare it for the next day to hand in
  • Report on their perceptions of the student day (see Project Goals below), and on the hours spent after school to complete tasks/work and balance home life to their peers

Project goals:
  • Is the school schedule designed as effectively as it could be for learning?
  • Are the duration of classes, transition times between classes, advisory time, and lunch time / scope structures appropriately meeting the needs of students?
  • Open up discussions on the demands and expectations placed on students during the school day and also in their personal lives: Understanding the length of the overall 'school day'
  • Encourage discussions on the purpose and role of homework
  • Reminding teachers of the demands of 'having 4-5 different subjects (jobs / classes) per day,' and an extra-curricular activity, and homework of new material
  • Encouraging reflective practice on teaching students and not just subjects

When we started to bounce the idea around on campus with teachers to get their feedback the idea spread VERY rapidly. Many teachers expressed disappointment they couldn't participate in this round and have already asked if they can be included in the next.

Also... MANY students and teachers have been dropping in with ideas to consider for the future... and they are all excellent.

  • Run the experiment for two days
  • Run the experiment for a week
  • Incorporate a 'game day' where an athletic team has a game where the demands of students participating are stretched further
  • Build in a part-time job for a few participants after school
  • Do this again in the Winter... which has a much more chaotic extra-curricular activity schedule

I think we're on to something ; )

We'll be reporting how it all moves along.