by Destiny, Student Panel Member, #EdCampSEMass
In early December 2017, the second annual EdCampSEMass was held at Norton Middle School in Norton, MA. Once again, MassCUE sponsored the day where over 40 districts from across the region were represented by dedicated educators willing to give up their Saturday to enhance their professional learning. In addition to the adults present, many students volunteered their time to participate in their first EdCamp. The following is one student’s perspective of EdCampSEMass.
Did you ever think that teachers need help? Did you know that teachers struggle with technology sometimes? Homework assignments? Understanding students? Well, neither did I until I attended the #EdCampSEMass session. But, before I get into that, let me introduce myself.
Hi, I am Destiny and I am not a blogger (or at least not until #EdCampSEMass happened!). Now that that’s out of the way, I will tell you, I’m a hard working student. I go to school every single day. I’ve had my struggles at times, but I never thought that teachers had struggles of their own!
The student panel at #EdCampSEMass allowed a variety of topics to be put on the table to be discussed. The teachers inquired about homework, technology, grades, and tough issues in our society and how to handle them. I was very humbled to be invited to attend a safe space where teachers and students came together with a common cause– to listen, to exchange ideas and see learning through a scope of possibility and innovation.
Student volunteers (such as myself) were given a chance to express our opinions-in a way that mattered! The twelve of us sat and listened with an open mind to the series of questions that teachers had… what came next was a most open and honest dialogue where both sides tried their best to provide insight, perspective, and ideas to think about and maybe lead change. The teachers asked us the questions in a way that made us feel like the experts. We felt like the roles had been switched between the students and the teachers. This was a very new and refreshing experience.
Interestingly enough, that same refreshing feeling was felt in one of the breakout sessions that I attended. One breakout session was called “Homework Yes or No?” When a few of us first walked into the session, we thought they were kidding. The thought that not just one, but many teachers were in search of opinions on the topic of homework was completely eye opening. Homework and school go together like peanut butter and jelly so hearing the value of homework being questioned, or considered being optional was mind blowing! Even more amazing than that, was the realization that we were needed and that student voice was valued.
#EdCampSEMass is a chapter in my book of life that has made me realize that learning is a collaborative road. You must give to get. If you put in 50% and your teacher gives 50% your learning experience will be 100% smoother & 150% more amazing. I have also come to the conclusion that everybody needs help in their school careers, including the teachers. Helping the attendees with building their teaching experience puts a smile on my face everytime I think about it. It’s not everyday a student becomes a teacher! My #EdCampSEMass experience has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities and am glad to have been a part of the action!
The organizers of EdCampSEMass want to thank Destiny and the other student volunteers for contributing to the success of the day. Including students in professional learning experiences for educators should be a priority for all schools and districts. MassCUE was an integral part in sponsoring EdCampSEMass and we are grateful for their continued support.
Destiny is an 8th grader at Norton Middle School in Norton, MA. When she is not volunteering for events such as EdCampSEMass or programs such as the Crossroads program, she likes to read novels and enjoys all types of music. Destiny engages in opportunities to give back to her community and is an active member of the TedEdClub, the Newspaper Club and serves on the Student Council at Norton Middle School. She hopes to pursue a career which involves working with children some day.