What does it take to get and hold someone’s attention. Years in the classroom have given Marilyn Englander a clue or two.
Last year, I enrolled in a challenging college class. I worked hard, had perfect attendance, asked lots of questions. The teacher seemed interested in me. Imagine my dismay, six months in, when she asked my name. My confidence faltered. I’d been invisible to her.
As a teacher myself, I know the “open sesame” for students is remembering their names, making them feel known, and fast ---- at least by week two.
Many teachers find themselves repeating “pay attention”, like a mantra. But more effective than prodding students to listen is a teacher connecting to students personally.
In my middle school classroom, when I checked in about Kate’s fights with her mother or asked how Chad’s baseball game had gone, I’d see the kids settle in better to work.