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The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

My day as a student

Senior+Maya+Halpern+and+social+studies+teacher+Jennifer+Bauer+switch+shoes+as+they+experience+each+others+day+in+the+life.+It+was+an+eye-opening+experience%2C+and+it+was+amazing+to+see+how+much+she+cares+for+her+students%2C+Halpern+said.
Photo by Gurnoor Sodhi
Senior Maya Halpern and social studies teacher Jennifer Bauer switch shoes as they experience each other’s ‘day in the life’. “It was an eye-opening experience, and it was amazing to see how much she cares for her students,” Halpern said.

Last week I had the opportunity to switch gears from being a teacher to being a high school student. With the exception of college, I have either been in high school or taught in high school since 1993. A lot has changed since I was in high school as a student, but I figured I had a good handle on what the daily lives of my students were like; there were several things that I didn’t realize.

The night before I was excited and slightly nervous. Thinking like a student meant that I had to figure out how to pack my day into a backpack. For me, this weighed in at around five pounds. When I carried Maya’s bag, it weighed in closer to 10. That was the first thing that got me; the amount of supplies students have to carry. When I was in high school we used lockers but now, students carry their worlds on their backs. Students have to have the strongest back muscles just to make it through the day. Maya kept laughing at me but it was fun to carry her bag. When I packed up for home, my huge mom purse felt light for the first time ever.

The biggest aspect of Maya’s day that got me was how fast her transitions were. As teachers, we mostly stay in one place and welcome in different classes. Yes, there is a transition, but we are not moving across a building to a completely different subject. Not only are students moving but they are mentally switching gears from one class to another. Maya went from one test – across the school – to take another test. All this in five minutes. I was amazed at how she did it! I was still figuring out what class we were in and she was engrossed in her second test of the day.

As a teacher, I need to remember that my students need a few minutes at the start of class to organize their brains as to where they are and what class they are in. A lot of us use warm-ups as a way to do this and I see firsthand just how valuable they are. But I also need to remember that I can’t teach to the final bell. Students are going on to a new subject and need a few minutes to pack up and mentally organize where they are going next. With how fast Maya’s day was, I was amazed that she was able to write down her assignments and remember what she had to do for each class. This is another big reminder – make sure I have all assignments and announcements on Canvas.

Another thing that struck me was how in-shape students must be to keep up with moving from class to class. Maya ping-ponged from the first-floor back of the building to the second-floor front of the building, and so on, all day. I’m in pretty good shape but by the end of the eighth period, I was done. It does help that students are 17 and I’m 45, but I am still amazed at how in-shape students have to be just to go to school.

Maya’s classes were fun to attend. I enjoyed learning everything from Spanish to AP Stats, to English lit, and to her science internship. I got to see parts of the building I had not been in in years. It was also fun to spend lunch with Maya and her friends. I liked getting to see how students spend their downtime.

I had a blast being a high school student for a day. It opened my eyes to a lot of the daily challenges students face. I will take this with me as I teach. Thank you to Maya for being an amazing host, to her friends for letting me join her at lunch and to her teachers for letting me visit.

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