Let’s discuss student engagement for a moment. Not the kind that we wish for. Not the one we blog about when everything goes amazingly. Where students cannot wait to work, to learn, to explore. No, not that kind. Instead, let’s talk about when students dislike your subject. When they put their heads down. What we do when students hate what you are doing but still like you as a teacher. When they groan no matter how much choice you give, how much you ask them to create with you. Let’s talk about what you do when you seem to have tried every trick and there are still so many days left. And you asked the students what to do as well and they didn’t know and looked at you like you were crazy because weren’t you supposed to be the expert after all? Let’s talk about that type of student engagement.
Because that’s what I need to talk about.
Not because I am depressed. Not because I am mad. Not because I think it is someone’s fault, but more because this is a real problem and I cannot be the only one that is experiencing it. The lack of student engagement, the lack of students who want to learn. Not all but some. How are we losing kids already by middle school or even earlier?
So what do we do when we have personalized the learning and it didn’t matter?
So what do we do when we have asked students to plan with us and it didn’t help?
So what do we do when they have choice but they don’t want it?
So what do we do when they have voice but they don’t even want to speak up?
What do we do when they know that we care, that we fail and get back up together, that this a community and we are on a learning journey together?
What do we do when we have tried everything we know to re-engage them and none of it has worked? Do we simply blame ourselves, keep trying the same things, or shake our hands in exasperation. What do we do when we are supposed to be the expert but we don’t feel like it anymore?
Please let me know your ideas.
I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA but originally from Denmark, who has taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grade. Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. The second edition of my first book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” will be published by Routledge in the fall. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press. Join our Passionate Learners community on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.