An ancient instructional secret: teach to the eyes.
Once the bell has rung, don’t scan the room with your eyes. Don’t look furtively at your notes. Don’t refer to the curriculum guide, or preoccupy yourself with the teacher’s edition, the principal’s latest mandate, the temperature of the coffee in the teacher’s lounge, or the wheezy whistle from the asthmatic kid’s schnoz. Start making eye contact. Address a kid, address her eyes. Take a knee and look at kids. Move around and lock eyes. Sure, the pubescent students will be creeped out at a certain level, but at a more profound level they will be connected – humanly.
Don’t fall in love with your gadgets. Brilliant cyber displays, magical white boards, nor dancing special effects have the power that locked human eyes contain.
Once you’re comfortable with engaging students more, you might try something else that truly sets the stage for learning: the human touch. YIKES! I know, I’ve stepped into a goopy pool of liability where no lawyer would tread. But, let’s face it, nobody with any sense of personal liability would cross the threshold of a classroom, anyway. Come on, teachers, you are already a prosecuting attorney’s sugar plum dream; why not teach kids? I’m talking the tap on the shoulder, the nudge with an elbow, a high-five (realistically speaking, keep your torso a safe, even awkward, distance from the student. It is scary out there).
In any other human-to- human vocation, from healing to sales, the stage for success is set by human contact.
The most effective teachers I’ve met have been far more involved with people than with paraphernalia.
Con el calor humano,