Today I have a guest post from Lauren Bailey, who writes for BestCollegesOnline.com.
Lauren writes some tips for what to do with those kids who seem to think they're still in the pajamas and race car bed in the morning and those who act like every cafeteria lunch is laced with tryptophan.
Morning Drowsiness or Post-Lunch Blues? 4 Tips for Keeping Students Engaged throughout the Day
As annoying as it may be to come to terms with, it's generally true that kids have "peak" periods of productivity. In the morning, these droopy-eyed youngsters are still pining for bed. Right after lunch and recess, they've digested their sandwiches, have run around the playground, and are generally pretty non-receptive. As teachers, however, it's our job to make each one of our class periods as learning-friendly as the next, so we have to work around these dips in productivity, even as we ourselves fall victim to the post-lunch malaise. Here are some tips for energizing students to bring out the best in them no matter what time of the day it is.
1. Keep your own energy levels up.
While we may attribute our students' lack of energy to certain times of the day, and as such, become frustrated, let's not forget that we, too, are affected by the same periodic lulls. This can only serve to exacerbate the problem. As such, try your best to keep your own energy levels constant by getting a good night's rest, avoiding heavy lunches, and, if necessary, ingesting reasonable amounts of caffeine or mood-lifting snacks throughout the day.
2. Break up the monotony by approaching each class period differently.
Since you know that some classes will be "perkier" than others, approach each class based on their varying energy levels. For example, for those top-of-the-morning classes in which the kids are falling asleep at their desks, start the day off with something relatively easy and programmatic, to get them warmed up. Same goes with the class period immediately following lunch. For those classes that are right before lunch, as well as the very last class of the day, you'll find that kids may be more energetic in anticipation of a break or going home, but this energy is less sustained and more prone to impatience. Harness this energy by doing a bunch of fast exercises that don't require long periods of attention.
3. Start class with something fun.
For those slower, energy-lacking classes described above, it's important to start off the class with something fun, perhaps something that's exciting but only tangentially related to your subject matter. For example, if you teach math, think about telling some simple math-related jokes, or play a game in which math concepts are smuggled in without the students even knowing what hit them. Above all, start with something light-hearted and interesting to perk up their energy.
4. Don't beat yourself up if not all goes as planned.
Teachers, especially those new to the profession, are often a lot harder on themselves than they should be. Of course, keeping expectations high for yourself and your students is a key part of improving your students' learning and developing yourself professionally. But at the same time, know in advance that not all days will go as planned, some classes are just easier to teach than others, and each year will be a mix of geniuses and difficult kids. You won't be super-teacher for every student. All you can rely on is giving the best you have, one day and one class period at a time.
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who writes on the topics of Best Colleges Online. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com.