Shadow teaching is a professional service offered to the school and family to better manage the needs of students who have more demanding learning and behavioral needs. ACS Athens facilitates the process of helping parents find the right Shadow Teacher who is knowledgeable in the specific needs of the student and provides support in the inclusive classroom environment. Shadow Teaching is a progressive form of assistance that acts as a resource for the school and the parent. Shadow Teachers are employed by the families and assist in the communication and collaboration between all parties involved. The ultimate goal of the Shadow Teacher is to guide the student towards independence in school. The Shadow Teacher helps provide the students with continuity in their classes, instills responsibility, fosters independence and encourages learning.
The Coordinator of the Institute of ACS Athens: Learning Enhancement Programs (LEP), and the OLP Coordinator assist the parents in the selection process by recommending Shadow Teachers. Once these Shadow Teachers have been screened and interviewed by ACS Athens, the parents will then interview the recommended Shadow Teachers and select the one they wish to work with their child. Shadow teachers at ACS Athens are employed and paid by the parents.
Education, previous classroom experience and personality traits of the Shadow Teacher are criteria which are considered. Shadow teachers are expected to continue their learning by attending workshops and seminars that focus on students with learning differences.
Shadow teachers work very closely with the Optimal Learning Specialists, as well as, with the Counselors, educators and administrators of ACS Athens.
Students requiring the level of support provided by a Shadow Teacher, must be enrolled in either OLP Class, or OLP Consultation so that close monitoring of all facets of the child’s needs are ensured.
The Role of the Shadow Teacher
The role of a Shadow Teacher is to support the student in his/her school academics by facilitating the learning process, helping the student build self-confidence as well as promoting positive interaction in the classroom. Prompting the student to engage meaningfully in important concepts, and developing academic and social skills is a key area in the Shadow Teacher’s aim.
Additionally, the Shadow Teacher provides additional support throughout the school day, academically and emotionally, to students enrolled in the OLP. The Shadow Teacher also helps the student be prepared and organized for class, helps the student with the approaches to learning and reminds him/her to be a responsible and committed student.
The student benefits from the shadow teacher because
- the student follows regular classroom instruction and interaction with his/her peers.
- the student learns to build on his/her strengths and not his/her weaknesses.
- the student receives educational enrichment.
The school also benefits by the Shadow Teacher, because there is a collaborative effort to meet the individual learning and behavioral needs of the particular student.
The parents benefit because they have daily communication with a professional who observes their child’s educational and social experience in school and who can offer strategies on how to maintain consistency between home and school.
The role of the Shadow Teacher in the classroom is to help his/her student:
- stay focused;
- participate appropriately and meaningfully in class;
- notify the teacher if he/she does not understand the material;
- function in an environment where there are many distractions;
- provide 1-1 teaching time to ensure review and practice of concepts;
- be positive in his/her approach to new tasks; and helping him/her to gain self control;
- encouraging him/her to ask for help from his/her teachers;
- having him/her share special interests with peers;
- provide breaks during the day so that the student can regroup and concentrate better;
- helping him/her to respond appropriately to his/her classmates in social situations;
- seeing that he/she compliments his peers when appropriate;
- prompting him/her to initiate discussions with his/her peers;
- encouraging him/her to learn the interests of his/her classmates.
Every child is unique; therefore, the approach and teaching methods and techniques used by each Shadow Teacher with each specific student will differ. Shadow Teachers are not recommended, or provided, for students in the Academy.