You should be planning for fun to happen in your classes. In most cases, your adult students don’t have to be in your classroom each time you show up. They go there because they need what you have to offer in order to be effective in their workplace. Have you ever wondered: do my students really WANT to be in my class? Am I making their English class experience a painful or boring one? I blogged about how nearly 50% of the world’s employees are bored at work. It’s only logical to assume that you’ve got a few of those bored people sitting in on your classroom. So don’t be an extension of that boredom.
Three Ways to Break Boredom
1. Ask yourself if YOU’RE having fun. A sure sign that your students are bored with you as their teacher, is if you are bored with what you’re doing as their teacher. Check in with yourself. Were you excited and engaged with what you were doing with your last class? If you were, try to figure out why. Is it your material? Is it the content? Is it your students? Or maybe it’s just you.
If it’s the material, what don’t you like about it? And better yet, if you don’t like it, do you REALLY HAVE to use it? (Talk with your supervisor or manager to see if you can change it.) And have you tried bringing in alternate sources?
Content Boredom: Same solution as above. Talk to the people you may need to talk to about making changes, and whenever possible bring in material that you think would be more exciting or engaging for your students. (And maybe even yourself.) Variety is the spice of life.
If it’s the students, then it’s likely time you ask for a rotation. Chemistry matters in class – there should be a “click” between you and your students if good things are going to happen. If you’re not “feeling it” then maybe you should ask for a different group of students.
What if it’s me? – Life has a way of speeding up, doesn’t it? Have you ever gotten to the end of a week and wondered what the heck just happened? I sure have. (I think this week was one of them.) It’s so easy to jam our lives with being busy that we easily forget to pause, and relax, rest and not work. (Happens to me often, too.) But one thing I’ve noticed above all, when I don’t get enough sleep, life just seems to look darker. Normal schedule for me is to rise and shine between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. Monday to Friday. (And I’ve got two young kids, so Saturday and Sunday are early ones too.) But the worst, is finding myself going to bed late. Lately I’ve been working hard to put myself in bed and sleeping by 10:00 pm. I’ve noticed a pick up in spirits the next day. Happier. Less cranky. More patience. (Kids like that.) So if you find fun to be hard to get to during your class, make sure you’re getting enough rest. It does make a difference.
2. Don’t Marry your Course book. Course books are there to support you, not carry you. They are powerful little things though: as you get using them, you feel like you shouldn’t deviate from them. Ever. One page after another. One exercise after another – if you’re not careful, the mighty course book can suck you in and steal your creativity. Don’t let this happen. Plan breaks away from your course book work. Look at what exercises are trying to accomplish, then see if there are outside sources which can help you achieve the same results.
3. Think: Intrigue. How are you going to earn their attention today? Flex your creative muscles. How can you get your students curious or interested in grammar today? How unusual can you be? How unexpected can you be? Again, don’t just feed students grammar rules, hunt around for creative and fun ways for students to connect with them.
This post was inspired after reading The Fun Theory in Language Learning.
What are you doing to bring fun into your classroom?
Photo by kevindooley