Thanks to all of our alumni who have volunteered to host sophomores through our Exploreship job-shadow program this January, our students are gaining valuable insight and meaningful experience. One student, Marta LeFevre-Levy shared her experience shadowing Chris Jandro ’04, a middle- and high-school biology teacher at Avalon School:
During my day with Chris, I sat in on a staff meeting, attended morning check-in with students, talked extensively with Chris about teaching at Avalon and observed several classes.
Upon entering Avalon School, I could immediately tell that it was a very different type of high school than the one I had attended. Students called teachers by their first names and had more freedom, both in terms of academics and how they spent their day. Students spoke enthusiastically about the academic program, explaining to me about interesting classes they had been able to take that would not have been offered at most other high schools.
The Thursday morning teacher’s meeting is used to discuss issues and make decisions about the school.
Avalon has no principal, so all the teachers have many roles and decisions are made by voting. It was really interesting to see how a charter school might work, and to think about whether, if I decide to go into teaching, this is the type of school I would want to work at. I learned there are challenges to working at a charter school - Chris spoke about lower levels of pay and more work than at some regular public schools - but also many rewards, like a supportive staff and more freedom with the curriculum.
Since student learning at Avalon is project based, much of the day is spent working on independent projects. During Chris’s middle school science classes I was able to work with students on their science fair experiments, helping them understand independent and dependent variables. I really enjoyed this, and it gave me a small window into what it would be like to teach. It was a great experience to spend a day at Avalon, and Chris was a wonderful host.