Note: This post originally appeared at Spark Learning

Today the Shadow a Student Challenge kicks off. This nationwide effort developed by School Retool, IDEO, and the Stanford encourages educators to develop empathy for students by shadowing them for an entire day. If we work every day in schools, we may think we have a good feel for the student experience. That’s not necessarily the case. We see school from our own vantage point – literally and figuratively from the other side of the desk.

By shadowing a student through a typical day, we can develop insights, observe from a new perspective, and identify opportunities to improve the experience for students. Designed originally for principals, all educators can benefit from this experience. Many school leaders I’ve spoken with have said it is literally a transformative experience for them. Check out this video from PBS News Hour to see what can come out of this experience.


1. Visit the Shadow a Student Challenge website to get more information.
2. Download the free Shadow toolkit from the website.
3. Schedule your shadow experience and sign up on the website.
4. Use the hashtag #shadowastudent to share your experience.

Join me and sign up today!