Walking in their shoes

by John Holt on Nov 17, 2016

in Our KIPPsters, Team & Family

Our Regional Services Team visits our schools often. Yet whenever we do, we go as Big KIPPsters. Last week, we were Little KIPPsters during the fifth annual Shadow-A-KIPPster Day.  

This was my first Shadow-A-KIPPster Day, and I wanted to share three things that stood out when I shadowed Geovany, a fifth grade student at KIPP Sharpstown College Preparatory.

1) Teacher connections with students

The devotion and commitment from Geovany’s teachers was eye-opening. His orchestra teacher asked the class to share something good that was happening in their lives. Several students’ hands quickly shot into the air when this was asked. One student said it was her dad’s birthday, and another said he was about to have his first basketball practice of the season. After each response, the teacher did a terrific job of asking follow-up questions, which allowed the students to open up more and continue conversation. He clearly not only cares about his students’ education, but also cares about them as people outside of the classroom. 

2) Student behavior and focus

While attending social studies and orchestra classes, I was amazed at the excellent behavior and listening skills Geovany and his classmates showed both inside and outside of the classroom. Whether it was walking outside to the school assembly or inside to lunch, the students were respectful of others and their surroundings. Inside both classrooms, I remember only once where the teacher had to either repeat himself or tell the class to tone their noise level down. They weren’t perfect but they were clearly committed to their own learning.

3) Integration of technology     

Throughout the day, I witnessed how technology was infused into our learning. In social studies class, all of the students used IPads to complete activities, tasks, and reading assignments. It was neat to see how easily they had mastered the technology. Geovany even had to help me. Everyone also watches a 10-minute CNN Student News piece during homeroom. Initially, I thought the video was being shown due to the presidential election having just completed. However, I learned the students watch these news videos daily. This may have impressed me more than anything else during the entire day. Making students aware of current world events, especially at a young age is important and leads them toward success.    

After spending the day walking in the shoes of our KIPPsters, I have a broader understanding of the impact of our shared work. I hope to continue to learn and grow as I tell more KIPP stories.