Can SILCing cure senioritis?

Seniors learn the lessons behind the lesson plan

Japanese was a struggle for then-freshman Cate Chan, and her teacher could only answer so many of the class’s questions. There was no question that Liam, Chan’s SILC, was the resource that everyone needed, even inspiring Chan to SILC herself.

The Senior Instructional Leadership Corps, or SILC, is a program that enables seniors to gain an understanding of the student- teacher dynamic in a way that few other experiences could. The enrollment process itself is simple.

“You can talk to your teacher and say [you’d] be interested in being a SILC, and, if the teacher thinks it’s a good idea and that’s really the only qualification there is,” said Steve Belford who heads the SILC program with fellow career services coordinator Melissa Duffy.

Seniors have the option to choose to SILC for a semester or the whole year.

There is something about the SILC program that gives its participants the motivation to get through another semester. Senior Ava Kalman SILCs for a Principlesof Engineering (POE) class and evenobservesgroupsoutsideofher assigned period.

“I like to sit in on the other periods of POE, [and] seeing the different progressions of the different classes and how all of them are being either successful or unsuccessful is really interesting,” Kalman said.

According to Kalman, the SILC program helped her have the opportunity to observe and learn from others.

To Chan, the SILC program was similarly meaningful, but for different reasons. She learned leadership and interpersonal skills.

“Dealing with people is somethingyouhavetodoeveryday, and SILCing… helps with [realizing that you need to be] open, honest, and helpful to everyone.”

Participants in the program generally need to have taken the class that they are SILCing, and, as a result, they often learn more than leadership and social skills.

“[SILCing] also is a test of my skill, and [a chance to] catch up on my baseline. Even though I took [previous levels of Japanese], I still learn new things every day,” said Chan.

Teachers have noticed a lot of growth among their SILCs. Japanese teacher Naomi Suzuki said that SILCs often become more confident.

“As I gradually give them more leadershipandhavethemleadat certainactivities,[and]oncetheyget to know the students, the style, andhoweverythingruns,theystarttofeel more confident,” said Suzuki.

SILCs are tasked with class planning and preparation behind the scenes, allowing them to showcase their growth in other ways.

“Typically my SILCs help me come up with ideas for games, make… review PowerPoints, or help me with grading. We meet once a week and we go over what we’re doing and a lot of times I’ll have them come up with the things we can do in class,” said Suzuki.

With all of this responsibility, SILCs develop a higher level of discipline. Grading, for example, can be difficult for students who are sensitive to peer pressure.

“At the beginning of the school year I was extremely uncomfortable with grading,” chemistry SILC Olivia Tussing said. “I would grade, give their papers back to them, and, especially at the beginning of the semester when it’s all memorization I felt really bad when I had to [take] several points off.”

One’s growth as a SILC involves recognizing shortcomings and pushing oneself to become more mature. Belford stressed that, while this transition is difficult to achieve, this challenge is what makes the experience rewarding.

“As the semester goes on and the teacher gives you more responsibility, the students start to look at you as someone who has responsibility. The teacher helps the SILC grow by continually treating them with that responsibility,” Belford stated.