Through a Student’s Eyes





Do teachers really know what students go through?

To find out, one teacher followed two students for two days  and was amazed at what she found. Her report  appeared on the blog of Grant Wiggins, the co-author of  Understanding by Design and the author of Educative Assessment.

Alexis Wiggins’ article is excerpted below:

I waited 14 years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day. It was so eye-opening that I wish I could go back to every class of students I ever had right now and change a minimum of ten things – the layout, the lesson plan, the checks for understanding. Most of it!

As part of getting my feet wet, my principal suggested I “be” a student for two days: I was to shadow and complete all the work of a 10th grade student on one day and to do the same for a 12th grade student on another day. My task was to do everything the student was supposed to do: if there was lecture or notes on the board, I copied them as fast I could into my notebook. If there was a Chemistry lab, I did it with my host student. If there was a test, I took it.

Following are a few of the key takeaways she gained from her experiences:

  1. Students sit all day, and sitting is exhausting.
  1. High school students are sitting passively and listening during approximately 90 percent of their classes.
  1. You feel a little bit like a nuisance all day long.

There is a lot of being told to sit down, be quiet, and pay attention. There is no real room for active questions, and sarcasm can hamper the learning process, especially on the part of the teachers.

To read more of Alexis’ reflections and take-aways, see