Read the article here.
I often wish the same thing that this coach does, to shadow my students to get an idea of what their day is like. I also reflect often on my time as a student and what my struggles were and how they affected my attitude about school. Currently, I have no school assignment, but my most recent experience with San Marcos High School was eye opening. I got a chance to assist in classrooms with students who were in my Co-Teaching classrooms. Some of my EL students were in an ELD English class that I was also in. Their attitudes and behaviors were vastly different than when in my general ed science class. In the EL environment in the first period of the day, they practically jumped out of their chairs to volunteer to read out loud or offer their thoughts and opinions. They joked with each other and would carry on about things that mattered to them like dating, jobs, and sports. In science they acted bored, tired, and disinterested. They shied away from speaking out loud or even asking questions when they needed to. It was difficult for me to determine whether the difference in behaviors was due to instructional strategies, environment, language barriers, time of day, or lack of interest in the topics. My co-teacher insisted it was a language barrier that caused a discomfort in her larger class, mostly situational and nothing to do with instructional strategies. I’m still not totally sure.
I think its hard to capture what your students are really like by only seeing them for one hour, for one subject. However, I was enlightened by the key take aways of this article. I was surprised that the students hardly spoke in any of their classes and that was considered typical. This article aligns with my beliefs that students need to be in charge of their learning. Students are used to dialing in school. And as torturous as it is, they are used to sitting, listening, and doing as their told in order to avoid notice or reprimand. I believe students should be actively engaged in their learning and they should be making choices about what and how they learn. Through a co-teaching day, I often find myself thinking thoughts like “Well who can blame them for talking…being on their phone…falling asleep…not completing the assignment…” I feel bad for students often and I have hard time reprimanding them for the things that I completely understand. So far, I have not seen anyone present a better way to do it. And although I think the suggestions in this article are spot on, I still have yet to see what it looks like to bundle them all together and create an awesome classroom environment. I have my doubts that it is possible in the current climate of education.