After reading a recent article by Andrew Marcinek concerning strategies for re-engaging students, I was reflecting on ways in which students help re-energize teachers. Here are 5 ways in which I have found teachers to be re-energized by students (oh by the way, good grades is not on the list).
Students re-energize their teachers when they…
1. Ask great questions
There may not be any bad questions, but a teacher who is paying attention can certainly identify when a student is asking a great one. Sometimes, these questions are concerned with a higher order thinking skill, but they may also be questions that lead to additional questions. Bonus points for drawing out additional questions from other students!
2. Respond to classmates without prompting
While this could be a result of #1, unprompted dialogue, between students, that fuels continued and constructive conversation is the educator’s equivalent to a chef perfecting a soufflé. A flash mob of discourse in class is a true sign that you are doing something right!
3. Suggest alternative activities
We all will find ourselves a little stale from time to time. Fresh ideas, though plentiful on the internet, are often clouded by other factors of daily life. When students come up with and suggest a fresh approach, it shows they care and are taking ownership of their learning.
4. Seek additional time outside of class
One sign of collaboration is the time devoted to scholarly pursuit outside of the scheduled meetings. Students seeking additional opportunities to talk about their course is always an answer to the question, “Do any of these students care at all about this class?”
5. Say “Thank you”
Finally, I love it when students share their appreciation. If given the choice between gifts during the holidays (how many World’s Greatest Teacher ties, ornaments, etc. can one person amass?), or a simple/sincere, “Thank you.” I’ll take the,”Thank you.”
Thank you. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts on how students re-energize teachers.