High School Students Experience a Day as Teachers

High School Students Experience a Day as Teachers

More than 30 Wantagh High School students got a glimpse of education through a different lens, as they were paired up with elementary teachers throughout the district for shadow day on Feb. 2.

The annual tradition is appropriately held on Groundhog Day each year and is open to any interested high school freshmen through senior, and 32 students took advantage of the opportunity. Christine Compagnino, business teacher and work-based learning coordinator, said the program is geared toward those who are interested in careers in education and other professions that directly work with children.

Participants can choose the elementary school and the teacher they want to shadow. They are not limited to grade-level teachers but can also work with special-area and support service teachers, such as music and speech. 

“The experience gives them a good behind-the-scenes look at what a day in the life of a teacher is like,” Ms. Compagnino said. ‘The kids, small and big, really love this day.”

During their day in the classroom, the high school students had a wide-ranging experience. They checked homework, graded papers, helped students with math and writing, created bulletin board displays and read books aloud. 

Freshmen Julianna Tsempelis and Brianna Henriques were together in a classroom at Forest Lake Elementary School and enjoyed the experience. They remembered shadow day from their childhood, and looked forward to the day when it would be their turn.

“I’ve been thinking about being a teacher for a long time,” Brianna said, “so this was a perfect opportunity to see what it’s like.”

Lorenzo Hillard, also a freshman, has been volunteering at the Wantagh Public Library and said this allowed him to work with children in a different setting. The biggest lesson he took away from shadow day, he explained, what how to meet the individual needs of every student.