By Erin Grisham
For those of you who look back on your time in grade school fondly, think about which positive experiences stand out. Was it a teacher who—by some stroke of genius—kept you captivated by your least favorite subject, or perhaps a program tailored to your specific interests?
A recent Education Week article states, “Students who have teachers who make them ‘feel excited about the future’ and who attend schools that they see as committed to building their individual strengths are 30 times more likely than other students to show other signs of engagement in the classroom.”
The 2013 Gallup study found that 54% of students reported having “at least one teacher who makes [them] excited about the future,” and a school “committed to building the strengths of each student.”
How can schools and teachers who aren’t keeping students engaged get back on track? It might be as simple as proving to students that they care about them individually, not just as a group. Gallup Education’s executive director, Brandon H. Busteed, gave a wonderful example of a first-grade teacher doing just that. He noticed that when the teacher asked her students questions, she would address them by name as well as their preferred future occupation. “It was a simple and powerful action,” Busteed said.