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Teacher turned student: Upper School Wellness teacher shadows senior for a day

For some Greenhill students, a week of school is a combination of 3 A.M. homework nights, last-minute panic attacks, and a large supply of caffeine. To get an insight on what the student experience is like at Greenhill, Upper School Wellness Teacher Priya Singhvi LPC, LMFT decided to shadow senior Maya LaRosiliere on Thursday, September 7.

“I wanted to get better insight into the student experience. My entire job’s purpose is to support students so I think it’s really important to understand what it’s like to walk in students’ shoes.” Ms. Singhvi said.

The idea came up in a conversation between Maya and Ms. Singhvi. Ms. Singhvi was in disbelief that within only the first couple weeks of school there was this heavy of a homework load, so she wanted to understand why school was already this busy. To do so, Ms. Singhvi attended all the classes on Maya’s schedule.

“[Ms. Singhvi] actually participated in it. For choir she sang with the altos, when I was meeting with my math tutor she was doing work as well, she was in AP Macroeconomics and she was asking questions as well…she was really involved in the day,” Maya said.

Throughout the day, Ms. Singhvi noticed some slight differences between a teacher’s day at school versus a student’s day at school.

“[It was the] little things like not being able to have coffee with you in the morning. To me [that] was definitely like ‘okay, this is my privilege: I can typically have coffee with me, get water whenever I want, go to the bathroom whenever I want, be able to eat lunch at a time that feels best for me,’ said Ms. Singhvi. “I was already cognizant of that, but that definitely came to light for me.”

After shadowing Maya for the day, Ms. Singhvi came to a conclusion about why some students have a negative view of attending class.

“I also think, and this may be an unfavorable opinion, that sometimes students wind themselves up more than they need to,” said Ms. Singhvi. “I think it’s probably a lot more favorable [for students] to talk about what sucks about their day or what’s stressful, or a lot of the negative stuff. We’re wired to be negative; when really, there were lots of fun experiences in the day too.”

Ms. Singhvi also understands that school may be difficult for some students for reasons that are beyond the scope of school.

“I think if I were managing that day with depression, or if I were managing that day after a family conflict, or if I were managing that day with multiple days of sleep deprivation, I could definitely see how that could weigh as a cloud that would make it difficult to engage in a way that maybe these teachers expect kids to do,” Ms. Singhvi said.

However, looking at the day as a whole, Ms. Singhvi took away a positive experience and said it was one of her most favorite days at Greenhill.

Looking back on the experience, Maya hopes Ms. Singhvi takes away a new perspective on what it’s like to be a student at Greenhill.

“I hope she has an understanding to take into her Wellness class because I think it’s so much easier from a faculty perspective to just be like ‘go to bed, that test is not going to matter,’” said Maya. “I hope she understands the pressure that’s put on from like going to such a rigorous school and everything, and that it’s not easy to just get 8 hours and 45 minutes of sleep.”

Ms. Singhvi hopes to continue to shadow students and ideally shadow one student from each grade by the end of the trimester.

“I think it’s really important that every faculty member shadows a student at least once every two years, so we can really understand what that experience is like,” Ms. Singhvi said.

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