How to Teach Lessons that Inspire Students
It’s a challenging time for educators as schools close due to the Covid-19 and everyone takes to teaching virtual lessons. I hear from teachers who are exhausted and overwhelmed. The fact that schools may not even open again in the fall has everyone anxious.
What if you re-frame the situation and look for the positive in the midst of a pandemic? I know it seems impossible but there are situations where teachers are noticing that many students actually do better learning virtually than they did in the classroom. Might there also be educators who prefer the virtual classroom? How can you teach your best lesson regardless of the environment?
Take a trip back in time with me and visualize your most memorable teacher. Maybe it was the one who inspired you to be an educator. Maybe it was someone who encouraged you in a subject area that you were challenged in. Maybe it was someone who recognized a gift that you had.
In this day of data and research driven lesson plans, it is sometimes easy to lose the heart of teaching. What can we do to create lessons that capture and inspire students?
Here are four teaching suggestions:
Get personal: As a student don’t you remember how much you enjoyed those stories that teachers shared from their personal lives and experiences? Sometimes it made the material come to life. Sometimes it gave you insight into them as a real person with a family and outside interests. Sometimes it helped you understand a mission or passion they had. Keep the shared experiences relevant to the topic at hand but put some of yourself into the mix. This should be easier than ever to do since you are teaching from home… how much more personal can you get?
Get relevant: Students are engaged when they see how the material relates to their lives. I remember a teacher I was observing in a math class who was teaching problem-solving through word problems that she made up which were practical as well as a bit humorous. I was so entertained that I had a hard a hard time remembering to observe the student I was there for. How can you relate the material to what is going on right now?
Get inspirational: Use your material to inspire students to change the world and to be the best they can be. Every lesson no matter the topic has a personal application and a history. Share your personal desire for a peaceful world, saving endangered species or finding a cure for Covid-19. Help students to visualize a future that is better because of their focus and effort. Help them see the part they can play in making the world better.
Get innovative: While it is easy to fall back year after year on the same tired lessons, challenge yourself to add something new and innovative each year. Your dedication to being a lifelong learner yourself will transfer the same enthusiasm to your students. If you are teaching virtually when you have never done so before then you are already being innovative. Make peace with the idea of technology and learn how to manage it, rather than let it manage and frustrate you.
Wyatt Learns about Cooperation
Wyatt wants to play Frisbee. Max want to build a fort and Callie wants to have tea party. How do the three friends reconcile their differences? Can it be done? When Wyatt doesn’t get his way, Max’s mother suggests he be the Superhero for the day. Join Wyatt as he learns how the magic of cooperation and compromise can bring the five friends closer together.
Feeling left out? Need help getting along with friends? Wyatt the Wonder Dog books weave important life skills into engaging story telling. Join Wyatt as he learns how to be the superhero in his group of friends by using cooperation and compromise.~MaryFrances Gonzalez MACCC-SLP