"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, January 2, 2014

To Be A Student For A Day

Now that I have been teaching for decades, it is not straightforward to imagine how it is to be a student inside a classroom once more. In a university setting, a professor does attend seminars. And in our department, every semester, each faculty member is assigned to sit and observe one lecture of another professor. Still, attending a lecture once or twice a week is still not identical to attending several lectures in different disciplines, one after another, within the span of one day, and do the same every day of the week for months. Of course, I can make the excuse that younger people have more energy and stamina. Nonetheless, the required engagement, attention and focus can be overwhelming. This covers only the academic part. Both high school and college life have a social dimension and this can be equally taxing. Hopefully, a student does not have to worry about preparing breakfast, lunch bags, and picking up their kids from school like I do now. The life of a student is indeed dramatically different from that of the instructor.

English teacher Scott Clausen of Burr and Burton Academy attending a biology class, experiencing what a school day is through the eyes of a high school student
( photo captured from BBA Student for a Day Project )
To teach with considerable attention to where the learners are, it is necessary to have the perspective of a student. I can exert effort in trying to recall my high school days so that I can imagine how it is to be a student. Instead of simply imagining, five teachers at Burr and Burton Academy in the state of Vermont decided to go through a day as a student in order to see high school once more through the eyes of a student. The experience was indeed enlightening and what the teachers thought and discovered during the exercise were captured in the following video:


 
BBA Student for a Day Project from Adam Provost on Vimeo.

All teachers were once students and thus, can all relive the past, but spending a day right now as a student can still be an excellent eye opener.



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