In the last week of August, our Principal, Mr Lainson, and our Director of Teaching and Learning, Mrs Wade, took on a courageous challenge—spending the day as an ICS student!
But first, why???
It’s been a while since either Mr Lainson or Mrs Wade trod the hallways of any school as a student, so why would they willingly undergo such hardship?? They decided to take part in the Shadow a Student Challenge in an attempt to understand more about what it’s like to be a student at ICS. They hoped to acquire new insights into student life that would help us to better support all the students in our community here.
So, what happened?
Both teachers met their students when they came up the school driveway in the morning and only left them when they left the school grounds in the afternoon. Mr Lainson was accompanied for the day by Todd Langstaff (Year 11) and Mrs Wade by Eliza Stark (Year 9). Both students graciously put up with their teacher’s presence all day, not only during class, but even at break times with their friends!
We didn’t make them wear uniforms, but they did have to sit on the ground—and do sport! Here’s what they had to say about the experience.
Mr Lainson reflects on his experience:
I had the wonderful opportunity of being a Year 11 student for the day. My day started in pastoral care with eight boys and Mr Dombkins. The boys spent time reflecting on some of the things they learnt during their time away on camp and in prayer. I was made to feel very welcome by the boys, who asked questions and looked after me like I was a new student for the day.
In Learning Session One I participated in a PDHPE lesson, even having a go at a Taboo revision game. During the day I also attended Maths, Biology and English lessons. In English we debated whether Othello was a victim of his own weaknesses or circumstances. While in Maths, we were able to use the whiteboard walls to show our working out and collaborate as we attempted to solve some complex equations (well, at least they were complex for me!). Break times were spent in the senior area with students and I ate my packed lunch. After each lesson or break I asked students whether this was a typical experience and how we could do things better and enhance their experience of school.
The day provided me with the opportunity to experience school from the student perspective and sit on the other side of the desk. We are always looking for ways to reflect on how we can improve what we do at school and I appreciate the students and staff helping to make this possible. Thanks to Todd Langstaff who allowed me to follow him for the day and attend all his classes. I was really encouraged by the way our students interacted with each other and the great lessons staff were preparing for our children.
Mrs Wade reflects on her experience:
I had a really enjoyable day with the Year 9 girls. I particularly loved seeing the beautiful way they relate with each other and was grateful for the way they warmly welcomed me into their day. They even taught me how to play Mafia at lunchtime—though I think I need a few more lessons. I’m especially grateful to Eliza who was amazing in putting up with me and looking after me so well.
I had a taste of lugging my backpack around all day with my computer and change of clothes for sport, I got to enjoy the fresh air on one of the coldest days of the year, and I did my best to remember to take everything I needed into every lesson—I forgot my pen in one lesson and my glasses in another. I learned how to throw a cricket ball in PASS, engaged in a stimulating discussion on gender expectations in PDHPE, buffed up my writing skills in English and learned a whole lot about staging a play in Drama.
It was a wonderful opportunity to experience school from a different perspective and to develop a few more insights into what the day is like for a student. Seeing school through different eyes helps us to identify more ways to nurture a deep and rewarding learning experience for our students. Definitely a worthwhile reason to take me out of my comfort zone!
Both teachers agreed that the Shadow a Student Challenge can be really worthwhile for a school community. We look forward to doing it again next year!