Jimmy is staring at the ceiling. Sally is biting her nails. Michael is flipping through his notebook pointlessly searching for… well to be honest… nothing. Their attention isn’t on me. It isn’t on the lesson. They aren’t paying attention to me so I know when it’s their time to do it, they won’t know how. How do I make this more interesting for my students? They need to remember, and I need to make help them do so.
What makes me pay attention? Why did I pay attention in school? As I begin to think back to my days yet again, I see the importance of reflection as my time as a teacher. Back in my day, which feels like ancient times now, I watched computers become a permanent fixture in each classroom. When my sister, 4 years later, went through the same school, each student got their own IPad. Here it is, another 8 years later, and the technology has grown even more. Forget the technology for just a second Alyssia. Focus on… wait what was I focusing on? Oh right…. Attention.
Reminiscing yet again I think about the games, the lectures, the notes I’ve been doing as long as I can remember. The long drawn out lectures I attended where I spent my time playing on my phone or catching up on my social media. They’re boring and uninteresting. Those won’t cut it anymore. There’s no way my kids will focus. I think about the games we played. Yes games. Those could work. I need excitement. Kids need to be excited to learn. I think about the technology I have access too. The jeopardy buzzers I have could help students review. The IPads would allow me to transfer information to them as we go along. A new screen popping up every few minutes will surely catch their attention. Instead of long lectures, I will let the kids explore, by themselves or in teams, and learn by doing. By struggling to succeed, kids will be more apt to remember the material. I cannot baby these students anymore. They must learn. They must remember. I must catch their attention so they can pass.
What else can I do? Our school just got these new virtual tour machines. Each student wears goggles and they can travel anywhere in the world. I need to do this. Experiencing something first hand, visiting a new place, being involved will surely catch their attention. So here we go: To the South America to the rainforest to learn about the climate, plants and animals, to ancient Egypt to learn about the pyramids and watch how they were made, and to the bottom of the ocean to learn about animals, coral, and the mysteries of the water. Yes, this new technology will surely be able to help my students learn. They are more likely to make connections and remember when they are directly involved.
I will give them choices on how they do projects. They will have options to pick a task they want to complete. Each task will be related to the content but will attract different types of learners. They will be able to design, do a worksheet, or work online through different materials. Allowing students to make the choice on the work they do will help keep their attention to the task at hand. Each will be graded equally but every student will be equally engaged.
My task is to keep the attention of my students. Thinking back helped me find new ways to keep my students engaged. The introduction of the new technologies will help my students relate to new material. The options I will give them will let students learn the material in their own way. Being a teacher is tough. Sometimes, I have a hard time paying attention. By doing these things, I will become more interesting and help my students learn and remember. An engaging classroom is one that succeeds.