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The “Student’s Shadow” Method in the Work of a Teacher

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“Shadow a Student” is an excellent opportunity for an educator to refresh their memories of being a student and examine the practices that other teachers use. Moreover, from this experience, I understood that educators do not always comprehend the concerns that their students may have or do not perceive why certain classes or events stress the schoolchildren. It is evident that teachers view their classes differently from the students, and failure to notice whether the students are engaged or if the atmosphere in the class is welcoming can result in unproductive learning. In this reflection, I will present my “Shadow a Student” experience and the main lessons I learned.

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For my “Shadow a Student” experience, I decided to learn more about the stress that senior-year students experience, mainly because it is their final year at school and they have to focus on their education, while also choosing a college and trying to balance this with a social life, their friends and family. More specifically, since this is the closure of their final year, I wanted to know whether they worry about college, different programs and options they have, activities of various programs, or other related things. When I was preparing to participate in this program, I reflected on the goals that I want to achieve by shadowing a student, and I thought that as an educator I would want to know what I can do to aid senior-year students during the year when they have a lot of responsibility in choosing what to do next.


I shadowed Jackson Amirashi, a 12-grade senior student. To arrange this experience and ensure that everyone is comfortable with me following Jackson during his classes, I wrote a letter to the staff and talked to Jackson to answer any questions or address concerns that he may have. In general, the majority of staff welcomed the initiative, and they were happy to see me at their lessons, although in the letter, I stressed the importance of treating me as a student and not as a colleague. However, the teacher of the Government class did not want me to be present, which I understand, since it can be distracting for educators to have others at their lessons. Additionally, I realized the importance of not acting as a teacher during this process. Hence, I worked on “taking the teacher hat off” and imagining myself as a student once again. Thus, in general, I had prepared not only by notifying the colleagues and talking to the student but also by preparing myself mentally to be able to immerse in this experience and see everything from the student’s perspective, which was the main challenge.


I attended several classes as part of my experience, and only one teacher was against the idea. However, the administration insisted on allowing me to attend. As a result, I found out that the most stressful thing for Jackson is the issue of attending classes and the safety measures that were enacted in our building. Evidently, the problem of coronavirus affects student education drastically, disrupting the process. Most of the students are afraid that the classes will be extended or suspended or that some other changes will happen, and it is unclear how this will affect their college admissions. When reflecting on this, I cannot imagine having to go through a senior year while the schools and other public places are on lockdown, and the uncertainly about the future is even greater than before. Another issue is that the students feel as if they do not get the chance to experience all the senior year activities, also due to coronavirus safety measures. Since this is their final year of school, they feel discouraged and down because there are many things they are able to do because of restrictions.

Apart from this, it surprised me that Jackson struggled the most with the Leadership class, admitting that this is the most stressful part of his curriculum. This class was completely led by the students and attended by mainly senior-year individuals. As for me, I found the majority of classes to be interesting, and I was the most delighted by the Art class, where the students had an assignment of doing some printing art.

One issue I noticed was that in most classes, including the Arts class, the students were on their phones for large periods of time. Additionally, the lab where students could perform projects was closed because of coronavirus, leaving fewer opportunities to explore their creativity. Despite this, Jackson revealed that he is excited about an art show that should happen in June, which shows his appreciation for this class and genuine interest. The government class was the biggest challenge for me, as I mentioned, the teacher did not want me to attend.


This “Shadow a Student” experience was an excellent opportunity to approach the learning process from the perspective of a student. As a result, I realized that senior year students really struggle with adapting to the coronavirus safety measures and that this affects their final year school experience. While I was shadowing a student, some parts of the school’s building were already closed because of coronavirus, such as the art lab, meaning that the students could not fully experience their learning opportunities. This prompted me to think and research how educators can support students and how we can help make the process of studying online more productive for the students to relieve them of this additional stress.

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