Seventh grader Tiffany Rock stood before a room of Carlos E. Haile Middle School sixth grade orchestra students Nov. 20 and showed them how to change notes on a violin.
Rock then counted to four, and the orchestra started to play “D String Boogie.”
“It’s interesting from a different perspective,” said Rock, who led the class through the piece, stopping when she heard a wrong note or when she saw a student losing track of the measures.
Although her time as an orchestra teacher only lasted 48 minutes, Rock said she was glad that she was able to participate in Haile’s annual teacher shadowing day held during American Education Week.
Assistant Principal Robert Sloman said that as the teacher shortage continues throughout the state, it makes sense to see if students would be interested in an education career.
“There’s no better way for them to find out than by shadowing a teacher and seeing what it’s like to actually be in their shoes,” Sloman said.
Since Sloman came to the school six years ago, students have had the opportunity to shadow a teacher of their choice. Students must get permission from the teacher they want to shadow, their parents and the teacher whose class they will be missing while they’re shadowing. Students must also be in good academic standing and have a good disciplinary record.
Ten students participated in the teacher shadowing this year. Before helping in the classroom, students assisted teachers in creating lesson plans.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for students to learn what teachers are going through,” said Elmina Taylor, a sixth grade math teacher. “They get to see the other side of the coin in terms of how a teacher has to be prepared and work on their feet because you never know what students are going to ask or what they need.”
Sixth grader Madison D’Angelo chose to shadow Taylor because she loves math.
D’Angelo helped students solve math problems and reviewed their homework assignments by showing them how to solve each question.
“I really love teaching,” D’Angelo said. “I love explaining things. I love talking.”
The Haile teachers have noticed students stepping out of their comfort zone and gaining public speaking, leadership and communication skills.
Taylor said teachers take on many roles and that shadowing day provides an opportunity for them to serve as a mentor.
“It’s not just my ability to teach the content, but it’s also to develop future leaders and lead students down the path they want to go,” Taylor said.
Orchestra teacher Valerie Terry said she was impressed with Rock’s ability to lead the class and help students improve.
“She’s picking up on things that they’re doing wrong and fixing them,” Terry said. “I’m very pleased with what she’s doing.”