Students walk in teachers' shoes, learn special appreciation

By Trina Trice

Kendrick Middle School math and science teacher Sheryl Hearn is giving her seventh-grade life science class the chance to experience what it's like to be a teacher.

Just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week, which lasts through Friday, Hearn's students are learning that it's not so as easy as to be a teacher as they thought.

Hearn's class is working in small groups with each student playing the role of a teacher. Each creates a lesson plan and teaches that lesson to their fellow student-teachers.

"It's allowing them to see what it's like to plan a lesson," Hearn said. "See what it's like to work on teams. They have to overcome obstacles of getting paper, because they have no funding.

"They're pretty excited about, it's pretty interesting to see what the kids come up with. They make presentations and they pretty much mock what I do."

Seventh-grader Ardreanna Cofell said about the assignment, "It's real complicated."

Classmate Tiara Young thinks the exercise proves that "it's a lot better being a teacher than a student and we know not to be as strict" as her other teachers.

Julian Robbs, working in the same team as Young and Cofell, thinks "it's harder" to be a teacher, "but it's a lot of work that you will teach other people. Nobody wants to learn something that isn't fun, so you want to make it fun" for students.

There is no doubt the teaching profession is a challenging one, said Sid Chapman, president of the Clayton County Education Association.

Darlene Gooden, eighth-grader at Kendrick Middle School, thinks teachers deserve an appreciation day because "sometimes I think it's hard ?cause you have to put up with the kids' attitudes, drama, and the kids talking. But then, again, it might be easy and fun."

Chapman thinks it's unfortunate that many people n parents, students, and administratorsn "all expect teachers to almost raise the children. Then the governor turns around and says ?We can't give you a raise.' It's a tough job and stressful, very stressful.

"In many cultures, teachers are held in high esteem, but it seems in our culture they're not as much." For an ideal Teacher Appreciation Day, Chapman said he'd like all "teachers to be afforded the respect that's due them."

Young admits that there are some teachers she doesn't like, especially those who assign too much work, but says, "I think all teachers have something good in them ?cause they have it in their hearts to teach us."