“Mr. K, what am I supposed to do? There ain’t no more desks.”
-Tardy student, observing that her tardiness led to the denial of an opportunity to find a good desk in the classroom.
This first week has been somewhat of shock to my system–albeit a positive one. Having just finished a semester in which I would have, at most, 12 out of twenty-some students and, at least, 3 or 4 out of 20 students, the transition to a classroom in which more than 20 students are showing up regularly (at least for the first week) is definitely a life-changer (concretely, it means I have to set up more desks in my cramped classroom).
The key now is to ensure that I invest these students in their learning, such that they come to class because they want to and because they know that doing so can help them become brighter. I cannot let them become disenchanted by my often-dull classes. Though I firmly believe that “education is not entertainment,” I also know that education is meaningless if one is not there to receive it.
My roommate recently alerted me to a teaching technique called Power Teaching (now known as Whole Brain Teaching), which I am aiming to adopt successfully in my classroom. It’s a fascinating and fun way to get students engaged and active in the learning process. Try this video first.
I introduced this method to my classes this week and encountered mixed results. Some students in first period responded to “Class” with a dull “No”. But the positive response I received from my journalism class (composed of 11th and 12th graders)–where I got my students to respond to “Class-Yes” and to enthusiastically teach each other the 3 reasons why reading is important (one, it makes you smarter; second, it prepares you for your career; and three, it is financially rewarding) using “Teach-Okay“–gives me hope that I can transplant this framework into my other periods.