New teachers shadow students to learn about school

New teachers shadowed two students each to better understand students and their daily schedules on Tuesday, November 17.

The new teachers spent half of the school day with one student and the second half with another, following the shadowed students and participating in their classes.

Those shadowing included Spanish teacher John Allen, French and Spanish teacher Amanda Wilson-Thatcher, Spanish teacher Jacob Chase and French teacher Christophe Barquissau.

Staff member Carmen Gomez organized the shadowing to help train first-year LAHS teachers.

Shadowing teachers used the California Standards for the Teaching Profession to help gain insight into students’ lives, the classroom environment and relationships between students and teachers.

“We … take notes about how the students behave in our classroom and then we compare the behavior of that student in our classroom to the other classrooms,” Barquissau said. “We try to understand if we can improve our own teaching.”

According to Barquissau, the administration randomly selected students for the new teachers to shadow, but the teachers could also compile a list of suggested students for input.

Barquissau shadowed sophomore Olivia Hon for the first, second and fourth periods of the day, and then a junior for periods three, five, and six. He said that he has gained a lot from this experience.

“Number one, I feel like the HS as a whole is very supportive,” Barquissau said. “Number two is you really have to try hard to get an F in a class. … It was a very pleasant experience and I think every school should have this program set up for teachers so teachers could see what it is like to be a student for a day.”

According to Barquissau, this experience has helped him “understand what it’s like to be a student,” and admits that some classes were less exciting than others.

“And then fourth period I went to jazz class, believe it or not,” Barquissau said. “They [taught] me how to do pirouettes and some sashays and some jumps, and I cannot believe it. … Dancing like that and turning like this.”

Barquissau demonstrated some of his newfound skills, saying that “it was fun, but it was [a] kind of interesting experience.”

Overall, Barquissau believed that the teacher shadowing was beneficial and wishes that every teacher could shadow a student “at least once a year.”

“They’ll have [a] better opportunity to understand what students are going through,” Barquissau said. “It really helps out.”