كتاب أكاديميا

Awatif M. Al-Ameeri wrote :How to invest in your students without wasting your teaching time?

It goes without saying nowadays students do not have the patience to study, learn, or even listen to any advice unless they want to. There are just too many distractions that steal their attention and waste their time. Whether it is playing video games online, hanging out at the mall with friends, or simply just singing on TikTok. Anything sounds better than listening to an adult giving advice about their future and career. Trust me, I’ve tried. However, I believe there are certain moments as a teacher when we can grasp their attention and guide them without us feeling ignored. It’s not just about what we say. It’s also about how and when we say it.
At the beginning of the class is one of the best moments to attract students’ attention. Take 10 minutes every class to ask them questions about what they did last night, who did they spend it with and how long did they stay there. This may catch them off guard but it will encourage them to reflect on their previous night and how well it was spent. If they calculate and assess their hours, this will immediately have an impact on their upcoming nights. You may even consider this as an icebreaking activity so that they can plan their day much better. As long as you positively advise them on how to change some of their habits for example finishing their homework before leaving the house or staying at home if they have an exam the next day without relying on group studying. On the contrary, if they inform you that they have done their work and spent their time well, give them words of admiration and appreciation. Tell them how happy you are that despite everything, they were responsible enough to get their work done.
Another time I recommend is after they get their test results back. A short little pep talk, not more than 10 minutes can reassure them that they can definitely do better next time. Encourage them to reflect on their studying time and emphasize that their habits can be changed once they focus on their big goal of graduating with high marks and a strong GPA. Students must be taught repeatedly that dreams cannot be achieved on their own without effort, focus, dedication and time.

A third time I recommend is having an open discussion once every few weeks. Ask your students what is it that they want to gain. They might be hesitant in the beginning, but eventually they will open up and talk. Ask them to write down what they wish they can change or develop in themselves. Ask them why do they think their education is important. If you’re already doing this with your students, than you’re an awesome teacher. If not, just give it a try. Get your tips and advice ready. Remember they are an investment. One day they’ll say I’ll never forget what you said to me. It changed my life. Talk to them about the good things you have succeeded in or the situations you’ve experienced. Mention useful advice that was given to you by someone else. I always mention my father in every class I teach. He was my teacher, my mentor, my confidant and my counselor. I believe that what he has taught me should be passed on to every student I meet because it had a strong impact on my life.
And last but not least, at the end of the semester is a great time to invest in your students. That last day when you’ll part your ways for a vacation or the end of the year can be very memorable to a student. Let them know you believe in them. Tell them they’ll do better next year. Reassure them that you are so proud of their progress this year, and not just the grade A students. Get them to feel good about themselves. When a student knows you were watching them, they will feel special. They’ll make sure to not disappoint you ever and do their best to make you proud. It’s all about that bond you create with them. You will always be that teacher that believed in them and pushed them to be stronger and better.
In conclusion, every word of encouragement matters. Every advice, every tip, every motivation, every support matters. They may not show it but they do appreciate it. Just constantly repeat your beliefs in them and support them fully. Listen to them and have good conversations with them. Your bond is what education is mostly about. Your influence is extremely inspiring. Empathy, compassion, guidance, love and encouragement is what they actually need. Through your words as a teacher, an educator and/or a parent, this may lead them to the right path, a strong career and a great personality. Your influence matters.

By Awatif M. Al-Ameeri

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