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NOV. 13, 2013

What if You Were the Teacher?

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How would your perspective change as a high school student if you were also the teacher? When I was in high school, my classmates and I would lament together over the amount and type of homework assigned each night and how confusing the lesson seemed. We thought we could do it better.

Sometimes students are the best teachers. Last week the students in my Pre-Calculus class suggested that each student be responsible for one section of the chapter, and each day two students would present their lessons for a homework grade. I was impressed that they generated this idea on their own and were excited for it. That was a moment that I saw the students thriving in the leadership phase of the semester.

Currently I have been doing professional development in order to maintain my teaching certificate. Coincidentally, the topic I have been researching is peer teaching, where teachers set up a structure under which students can teach each other. In light of this, I was quickly on board with the students’ suggestion. The week went well with each student being prepared for his lesson. Many students even found me outside of class to clarify and talk through some topics before their presentations. On Friday we debriefed the experience together.

The students realized that in order to fully understand and master something, they have to physically do it. There are no short cuts. Some students tried to just read through the examples in the textbook, but they ended up getting stuck in their presentation because they had not worked it for themselves.

I think this lesson can translate to all areas of our lives. The best way to learn is by experiencing. I am privileged to be teaching at a school that is structured in this way. The students of semester 37 have experienced so much in the past two months, and I have seen a lot of growth in each individual. I am excited to see them continue to grow as leaders.

Jen Hilterman
Math Teacher