In my second week of teaching junior high and high school technology classes, I have learned that the end of the day is hard for students. It is really difficult to expect teenagers to sit still after they have done that since 8:00 am, and they can also see freedom just on the horizon. This is not to say that these students hate school; on the contrary, most of the students that I engage with truly enjoy school. I have found that there are usually two types of students at the end of a school day: the students who have the jitters and need to sit on their hands to stay still, and the students whose eyes are glazed and desire a good nap. Since the classes that I teach are 6th and 7th period, I am brainstorming creative ways to keep the students engaged. If I give a lesson, I try to make it no more than 10 minutes and I always work to have some sort of class activity. So far this has proven to be a good approach and I will continue to think of ways to keep class time moving along.
Surprisingly, I have had more trouble with my high school class than my junior high class. The junior high class is comfortable with engaging in class discussion and they are honest about their understanding of the subject matter. However, some of my high school students can easily “check out of the building”, which presents a problem since technology contains so many details. Those students miss important information and then later exclaim, “I don’t get it” when we are working on projects. With this said, I have learned that it is important to incorporate repetition into each new idea that I am presenting to class. I have also learned that the students need to both “see” and “hear” the information. It is still frustrating when some students complain about not getting it because they are too lazy to listen or look at the board. In these moments I enjoy the fact that teenagers will honestly say, “I wasn’t listening” and the truth is refreshing.