Being A Student For A Period – Seeing It From Their Side

A classroom in a schoolI have some student teachers from a local school coming in to observe and teach once a week. One day, so I could see the student-teachers a little better, I decided to move from my desk (in the front left side of the room) to an empty student desk.

Not only was I surrounded by my students (which they found amusing), but I was literally one of them, since I was sitting there taking in a lecture by a teacher. The student-teachers were interesting and dynamic guys, so I was looking forward to the lesson.

First, I became tired. Even though I was interested in the topic at hand (I teach it!), I still found myself zoning out. I was tired, experiencing some post-lunch low, and needed coffee. I “woke up” and suddenly realized I hadn’t paid attention to the last five minutes of lecture. Then, as the teacher was calling on students, I thought “man, I hope he doesn’t call on me!”

It really allowed me to empathize with students. Here I am, a smart and functional adult, who knows and likes the subject being taught, and I still couldn’t pay attention. We sometimes hold crazy standards for our students. We expect them to pay attention for eight 40-minute periods, and we believe it is important to squeeze more and more learning into an average day. Even when teacher such as myself protest, bureaucracies like the state insist this is the best way to go. Yet, how many of us would ever want to go back to learning like that? How many state bureaucrats would spend their days like this?

I didn’t post this just to suggest we need to rethink how we promote learning. This reminded me of why we need to show our students a little empathy and give them some slack. When I became one for about 30 minutes, I have to tell you…I was very thankful I was in charge of the class and not back there as a student!

About David Bennett

David Bennett is a teacher, author, and speaker. His articles receive over a million hits per year and have appeared in a variety of publications. He is co-owner of a communication company, and he also writes for The Popular Teen and other sites. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter.