Teaching Tips

Sometimes You Just Need to Stop and Check In

As I longingly stared outside my window watching the snow fall yesterday, I prayed for a snow day.  I often wonder if the students ever feel the same way.  Do they get excited that it looks like they’re in a snow globe?  Do they hope to have a break from their schedules to go make snow angels?  Then I showed up for my afternoon class, and I realized they absolutely feel the same way.

As I asked the students about their reading and assigned the homework for their first high-stakes journal, it occurred to me that they may need a snow day.  I cannot grant them that, nor do I propose we should just cancel class because the students look disengaged.  Instead, what I’m suggesting is to stop for a moment and check in.  I decided to do just this in class.  I could tell they were somewhere else, yet I needed them to get them back to our classroom and content.  I stopped my lesson and asked what they were working through. Temporarily stopping the lesson to check in shows several things:

  • That you are paying attention to them as learners.
  • That you care about their learning process.
  • That you do not want to have passive learning happening in class.

Once I stopped to check in with the students about their learning and what was happening, I was able to get further with the content.  It was evident that some of them were tired, so we needed to strategize ways to overcome that feeling of tiredness or lethargy.  So here’s what we came up with for when they feel tired:

  • Stand in the back of the room
  • Walk to the restroom or just out in the hallway and back
  • Do some jumping jacks in the hallway (or room if you want)

Encouraging the students to be proactive when they are disengaging is just as important as the content being studied.  They are then understanding themselves as learners and how to best support their needs.   What are some ways that you have stopped to check in with students?  Feel free to comment below!

One thought on “Sometimes You Just Need to Stop and Check In

  1. Thanks, Molly! I put this into practice this afternoon. My students ended up with an extension and a better use of our time during our next class session. It’s good all the way around.

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