Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Class, Class! Yes, Yes! A Day in the Life of a CMS 6th Grader!

Is it harder to be a kid or an adult?  After today, I may be convinced that it's harder to be a kid.  On a regular work day, I leave my house around 6:45am, but today I had to leave at 5:45am to meet my bus ride to school.  Ms. Jacobs greeted me with a smile and was excited to have me riding along.  Her first stop was at 6:25am!  As student's got on the bus, they were shocked to see me but eventually paid no attention to me being there.  Once my shadow, Stacey, got on the bus, we quickly started to chat.  And by quickly, I mean that I talked and Stacey, who is a quiet, shy student, listened.  I asked her questions about home and school and found out that it was her brother's birthday, she has 2 dogs and another sister.  Her favorite class is Mr. Motter's math class because he's "funny."  She had her tablet to occupy her long ride to school, but eventually she put it away because I was talking her head off.

Throughout the day, there were insightful and surprising moments.  In Ms. Cannon's class I learned that about a creative routine for getting the class back on track if they were chatty.  When Ms. Cannon said, "Class! Class!" the students said "Yes, Yes!"  Sometimes she changed her voice, sang and at times she even added hand gestures and claps.  Each time they heard it, they repeated with their obedient, "Yes, Yes!" and were back on track.

The next lesson I learned was that it takes a lot of time management to schedule bathroom breaks.  It was challenging to make a locker stop and bathroom stop and make it back to History class on time.  We took our history benchmark which I got a 60% and was reminded to always stick with my initial answer.  I missed two questions because I second guessed myself and changed my answer.  Honestly, I thought a 60% was pretty good since I'm pretty sure I never learned the material and if I did it was a very long time ago.

When Ms. Yancey dismissed us for lunch, Stacey was quick to get to the cafeteria.  I understood why when the serving lines began to grow.  Mr. Dingeldein visited (checked on) me at lunch and was given an update on how my day was going.  I'm pretty sure he was a little jealous that I was able to hang out with the kids and he had to work.  Lunch went by quickly and we were back in class.

Gym class was next and, as much as I wanted to participate, I quickly realized that my physical ability was no comparison to the healthy, young 6th graders in class with me.  They did lunges while lifting a weighted ball and more sprints than I cared to count.  I was able to participate in the fun activity of throwing the weighted ball against the wall and up in the air.  Stacey was nice enough to let me have part of her turn (she may gave been tired).  She and her classmates impressed me with their dedication and hard work in gym class.

Last was Stacey's favorite, math class.  We learned about mean, median and mode.  Since this was something I taught previously, it was great to see someone else's strategies when teaching these concepts.  There were a few times when I thought that it would have been great to use some of Ms. White's ideas when I was teaching.  The students were engaged but I could tell that they were starting to fizzle out.  About half way through class, I really wanted to ask for a bathroom break, but I waited because I didn't want to miss anything.  When it was finally time to go, Stacey and I made a plan for her to go to her locker, me to the bathroom, and we would meet out front.  I really wanted to stay and chat with the kids and teachers, but we had to rush to the bus.

One of my favorite times of the day was the ride home.  The bus was much less crowded since some students stay after school for academics or sports.  I was surprised at how quickly all 3 schools could load the buses and send us on our way in less than 15 minutes.  It was interesting to see an unfamiliar part of Cumberland and see where our kids live.   I loved to see the younger students running with excitement when they got off the bus and were greeted with a parent or loved one.  We went down two dirt roads.  At the beginning of the first one, Ms. Jacob's pulled off the road a little and stopped.  The students jumped up and started closing the windows.  I was baffled because there was no direction given by the driver.  The students knew to close them so the dirt from the road wouldn't come into the bus.  Before Stacey got off the bus, we took one last selfie.  As she exited, I couldn't help but think that I had picked a perfect student to shadow for the day.

I admit that I was skeptical about this experience, but after jumping in and fully participating, I am thrilled that I did.  I think it would be a beneficial experience for all educators and administrators.  Seeing things from the eyes of a student gave me a different perspective, and I will truly reflect on this experience and make every effort to use what I learned to grow as an educator and administrator.