Friday, March 20, 2015

Warm Weather- Wait, What is That?

I'm from Cleveland.  It is still not warm.  But, with any luck, it will start to warm up soon.  With warm weather comes different issues when teaching.

When I taught middle school the students were extra fidgety.  They'd spent all winter cooped up inside and just wanted to be outside and moving.  When I taught high school attendance became a bit shaky and the students were very distracted by the nice weather outside.  Now, teaching college, I see a bit of both issues.  Even my adults don't want to be inside during the nice weather and attendance suffers.

So, what should you do?

First and most importantly, it's important to KEEP TEACHING.  As soon as you act as if the semester or year is over you will stop getting quality work from your students.  Instruction has to come first.  That said, I try to reexamine my lessons and make sure I'm not getting burnt out and that I'm continuously coming up with engaging lessons for my students.

Secondly, I find ways to incorporate the weather into my lessons.  Poems about spring etc.  At least then they get to talk about it!

Thirdly, I consider whether or not going outside is an option.  This really depends on your school, your class, and your location.  Sometimes it's just good to take a walk around the building once.  But other times I"ll have them bring notebooks and journal or take notes on a lecture I deliver outdoors.  You have to know your class though.  Some classes are even more distracted by being outside.

As the year winds down I come up with ways to include more media and give students a little bit of a break.  I usually have my final assignments due a week before the end of the semester so they can focus on studying for their finals in other classes (since I don't have a "test" final and just have a final writing sample.)  I may even bring in a small treat or something- keeping them on "my side" as the year closes out was very important when I was teaching middle/high school in high needs/high risk areas.  It made the last few weeks much more manageable.

What about you?  What do you do when the sun finally returns in the spring and the students sense the end of the year...

Thanks for reading!

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