Teacher for a Day is a program that allows individuals from the community to experience an entire school day. Under the watchful eye of a regular classroom teacher, Guest Teachers perform all the duties a teacher would do in a normal day - teaching class, performing lunch and corridor duty, recess supervision, study halls- in order to “walk a mile” in educators’ shoes.
Why is a program like this necessary?
It's been many years since most members of the public have been in a classroom. Given that a fraction of any community’s adult population has school-age children, most people don’t have an accurate understanding of what our schools are all about today. There is no better way to illustrate the experience of teaching than to let the public share that experience firsthand through the NJEA’s Teacher for a Day program.
By bringing public figures and members of the community into the schools, and having them witness the real-life, everyday educational environment, we can expect to achieve two major public relations goals: to raise public awareness of what we do, and to develop broad-based support for teachers and students alike while dispelling the myth that teaching is a “cushy job”.
Read how these local associations successfully implemented the program:
What will it accomplish?
The Teacher for a Day program has many possible beneficial results:
- It will enhance communication among educators and community leaders to identify potential association allies.
- It will promote general public understanding of the entire educational process, and what is happening in our schools today.
- It will demonstrate to public officials, decision-makers, and other community leaders both the successes and problems schools experience in reaching students of various ability and skill levels.
- It will allow persons “outside” the school situation to better understand the realities of a full teaching day. Teachers for a Day will be invited for an entire day’s school experience encompassing classes, extra duties, and detention - all with constant student interaction.
- It will underscore the need for adequate staffing, materials and facilities for our schools in an era of budget cuts and generally declining resources.
- It will help to increase community awareness of the needs of today’s students and the challenges of teaching. Through the Guest Teachers and the media, the public at large will get a window into the world of education.
Which locals would be recommended for this program?
Strongly consider becoming one of the first to conduct the program if you are a local association:
- where the school district expects to launch community/school partnership initiatives;
- where there is much to be gained from active community involvement;
- where public school opponents have been unfairly critical of the schools;
- where the public schools have been chronically under-funded, resulting in budget cuts and staff turnover; or
- where local community leaders can benefit from a greater understanding of the challenges faced by today's teachers.
Want to host Teacher for a Day?
If your local is interested in hosting a Teacher for a Day event in your school district, submit a request for a program binder. Once you have a chance to review it and talk with your association leaders, contact us about setting up a date.
Is there a similar program for ESP members?
Since nearly a quarter of all NJEA members are Educational Support Professionals, you may have wondered if there was a similar program that included ESP. While NJEA encourages all locals considering the Teacher for a Day program to include an ESP component – and has done so successfully in the last couple of years – there are some things to consider. Learn more about the Pinch Hit for ESP program.
Below are all the tools you need in order to run a successful Teacher for a Day event. To make things easier, they are listed in the order you will need them for the program. Simply click the links and customize the documents to suit your local association’s needs. Don’t forget to change all association references and names of local leaders and print your final document on program letterhead.