Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do better than maintain

The students are now a week and a half into the school year and for all intents and purposes the honeymoon is over.  Yep, the Juniors are being blasted by their toughest year ever while the Seniors just hunker down and try to get by, unhappy that the same old is probably going to happen for the fourth year in a row.

This is why you will change things.  You won’t be normal, you won’t be average, you won’t maintain.  While other teachers are starting to fall into the groove of doing things they way they have always been done, you are going to remain spiced up.  Oh sure, you spent a lot of energy engaging kids attention during the first week.  Well so did everyone else.  The question is whether you will maintain the creativity, the accountability, and the engagement. 

Change the littlest things.  Bring your energy level up.  Have students wander while doing something engaging.  Stop your presentations at twenty minutes and do something else.  SMILE!  Do those things that many have decided to skip because “it just works better the way it’s always worked”.  Find the energy. 

The kids will thank you for it, just probably not now.  Even if some of the faces are tired, some of the attitudes are rough, and some of the work is just “eh”, you must maintain the enthusiasm because the students do appreciate it, they just aren’t impressed by the other 4,5, whatever number classes.  The little differences will resonate with them at this point and for the rest of the year.  And by the end of the year the kids will flood you with praise, even if they spent the entire year acting like, you know, teenagers. 

So don’t try it, commit to it.  Don’t be satisfied with maintaining.        

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