Being the trustworthy person that I was during my high school career, I have had countless teachers confide in me about their classroom frustrations. They are usually upset that their students refuse to pay attention to them, claiming that the work is too “exciting” and “relatable” for students to lose interest in. Sadly, I could never tell them how I truly felt about the situation because that would mean accidentally insulting them with what I had to say. Truth be told, the material itself is not what bores the student, but the circumstances and method of presentation is what hinders them from keeping focus. If teachers want their students to show more interest in their class, a few simple tricks will keep the class engaged and willing to learn.
Allow short breaks: I know that teachers get tired of talking, because students get tired of listening. Take a short five minute break and allow the kids to socialize with their peers while you have a breather. This way, students will feel a little hint of freedom while having to sit in an hour-and-a-half long class. You can also give out several smaller breaks depending on the pace of the coursework. If you’d like, you could make a deal with the children, asking them to listen for the majority of class and then allowing socializing time in the last few minutes of class — if they behaved.
Allow snacks: When students get hungry, they quickly become cranky and unfocused. All they can think about is when their lunch breaks will finally arrive, causing you, the teacher, to suffer. I will tell you firsthand that when I’m hungry, I will take a nap with no regards as to what I am missing class-wise. Don’t want crumbs on the floor? Set down the ground rules and the kids will follow. Children are just happy when they are allowed something, anything to munch on. We can compromise.
Add some video clips to the chapter: With the new “Smart Board” technology practically every school has now-a-days, there are plenty of chances for students to be interactive in their courses of study. Whenever you have a less stressful chapter for students, consider finding short video clips to assist in getting your point across. My 10th Grade History teacher was great at doing this. The clips can be comical and entertaining or can focus more on the serious aspect of a topic- a video is a video. It really doesn’t matter what type of educational clip it is, students will learn more from a 3 minute clip than from a 10 minute lecture- trust me.
I hope that teachers are now a bit more informed concerning what keeps students awake and focused while sitting in their classrooms. It’s never anything personal against the teachers; students just have a hard time sitting in a classroom with absolutely no form of entertainment whatsoever. The tips I mentioned were used by many of my teachers and usually had a great success rate. Just have faith in your students and give ’em a little freedom- that’s all they ask for.