From the enotes.com March 2011 Newsletter
Tips of the Month: Teachers Get Tired Too!
It’s March. Spring Break, if we have one, is either still ahead or already in the rearview mirror. Either way, it’s March and students are tired. They’re not alone: Teachers get tired, too! We spend a lot of time thinking of ways to keep students engaged from March through May or June, but what about us? What can we do to regain some energy and enthusiasm for the remainder of the year? Since visiting the South of France on a personal leave day is probably out of the question, consider these ideas:
- Make your own fun: It is, after all, your classroom. Lessons must be prepared and presented, but how you do that is up to you. For once, think of the things you enjoy—movies, favorite cartoons, music, art, football—and incorporate some of them into your class in a creative and productive way. The Far Side cartoons, for instance, make great illustrations of literary terms. Remember the glass-bottomed boat turned upside down with the fish staring in at the tourists? Irony!
- Take a break: It’s really tiring to be “on” all the time, so stop talking and get off the stage! Design some team projects with class presentations that allow students to teach the class and learn in the process. Working together to prepare and present information and lead a discussion would be good for them, and evaluating 5 or 6 presentations instead of grading 25 or 30 papers would be good for you.
- Change it up: Routine eventually can dim anybody’s lights, so plan something unusual—or even off the wall. Declare a “Dress Up as Your Favorite Food Day.” (The pizza can explain his nutritional content; the hamburger can share her colorful world history.) Teach math with ice cubes. Organize a coloring contest and have students write subject-related captions for their pictures. (Seniors love this one.) Finally, write a script for a class discussion of your dreams. Hand it out, assign the parts, and let the play begin! You will love listening to how really well prepared your students sound, and they will learn the material in a new way.
Creating unusual activities that we find entertaining or that make the day a little easier for us doesn’t mean that students won’t be learning. They can learn in unconventional ways, too. It’s March! Think outside the box!