ROYERSFORD - For a second year, members of the Spring-Ford Area School District took an opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of the students of their district.
Board members Tom DiBello, Joe Ciresi, Edward Dressler, Willard Cromley and Julie Mullin all took an opportunity to go to class at various schools in the district to experience, first-hand, what education is like at Spring-Ford.
'(Superintendent David Goodin) put out to the teachers and asked if there were any volunteers and he got an overwhelming response this year because there was a lot of positives from last year,' DiBello, the board's president, said at the board's meeting Monday night.
Many of the teachers who opened their classrooms to the board members attended the meeting. They listened as each board member recounted their experiences and were asked to come up to be recognized or say a few words after each story finished.
Mullin was the first to talk about her experience, explaining how out of her league the high school physics class she attended was.
She also related how she understands how difficult it can be to get from classroom to classroom in the high school.
'It's a very quick pace to walk to get to class,' she said.
Cromley was next. A former educator, he talked about the technology he came across in some of the classrooms he entered, such as Smart Boards, but waxed nostalgic about his 'favorite, the overhead projector.'
'I'm not an artist,' Cromley said, speaking on his stint in an art class. The class' teacher, standing with the other teachers who hosted him, shook her head 'no' as Cromley admitted that.
Dressler spoke of the partner he was assigned in a 3rd grade class, Jimmy.
Later in the day, Dressler had a 'surf and turf lunch: fish sticks and hot dogs.'
In another class, Dressler participated in an exercise that he found fascinating for the age of those involved.
'Believe it or not, in 2nd grade, they were studying statistics,' he said. 'Can you believe that?'
In DiBello's back to school day, he returned to a book that was familiar to him: 'Romeo and Juliet.'
However, just because he was familiar with it doesn't mean that he had any real leg up on the other students in the class.
'I didn't get it when I was in high school and I didn't get it the second time,' he said.
The students around him, though, were 'really engaged' and soaked the literature in, he said.
Ciresi also studied Shakespeare during one of the classes he attended.
'Sometimes Shakespeare can be a little heavy,' he said. 'But (the teacher) really got them to think.'
Ciresi also attended a Spanish class for the second year in a row, participating in a word game with the other students, who he said spoke the language fluently.
'It really showed how quickly our kids picked it up,' he said.
All the board members involved in the back to school day related not just how impressed they were with the district's students' intelligence, but how well each teacher conducted their classes.
'I've always thought that teaching is one of the hardest forms of show business,' Dressler said. 'You can't imagine how difficult that is. Hour after hour, you are on stage.'
Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.