Monday, April 23, 2018

Middle Schooler for a Day- Lessons Learned Walking in the Shoes of a Sixth Grader

What's it like to be a middle-schooler? There is no better way than to spend a day in the shoes of such an adolescent, which is what I did last week. From social studies to science to math to lunch to Spanish I went. Here is what I learned!

1. It's hard to switch gears from one subject to another within minutes of each other. I moved from social studies to science and to math in the span of two hours and fifteen minutes. It’s not easy being an adolescent having to focus on completely different subjects in such a short period of time!

2. Certain instructional best practices are so important. I was told to complete a do now activity in one class and really wanted to know why were doing it. The objective for the class was written on the board, but I only knew it because I looked around the room for the statement. Understanding a teacher’s objective for why I should be doing certain things is so important.
I really appreciate when a teacher doesn’t just give me the answer to something with which I have a problem. It’s more helpful when he/she asks me questions about my thinking, guides me to the answer, and then shares her feedback about what I said.

3. For the most part, kids seem really nice to each other. We hear so many difficult stories about fights and negative interactions among students. It was nice to see the sixth graders in my classes treating each other respectfully and helpfully. 

4. I need to find a way to put the Rutgers tutoring program back in the budget. My math class was wonderfully flexible and differentiated. My student table-mates were really helpful answering my questions, but they got stuck on a few of my problems. The teacher was great, but she had a lot of students in the class and had to help someone else when I needed help.

5. We know this already, but I must reiterate- a teacher’s personality can make or break the lesson! I really enjoyed the classes in which the teachers were jovial, warm, etc. It made such a difference to my experience!

6. The lunch food really isn’t all that bad!

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