All teachers encounter students who are difficult or disruptive. Online students are no exception. Dealing with a disruptive online student, however, can be challenging for educators.
Think about the last time you took on learning something new: a new job, a new craft or hobby, a new skill. As you sat down as a complete novice, you probably already thought about what it would look like and feel like to be successful.
As adults, we do this often. We think about what we want out of our new experiences, and we choose them based on some kind of motivator. Whether we want a better salary, we want a new pastime, or we need to fix up our house, we dive into learning because we are driven.
As parents, we want to hear our students talk about their school day, but often our standard question doesn’t lend itself to what we really want to hear.
Asking students, “What did you do today?” returns answers like, “We played outside. We had gym. We made a volcano.” Statements like these tell you a little about what transpired throughout their day, but it doesn’t get to the meat of the story.
Now that it’s the middle of September, your children should be back into the school routine. They have likely already completed a few tests. How did they do? As a teacher, my hope is that your students are acing all of their exams, but, as a parent, I know that they sometimes need a little extra support to get on the right track.
Imagine that you are a student walking into a classroom on the first day of school to find no teacher. At first, you may sit with other students talking and laughing. You know that when your teacher shows up, it will be time to buckle down and get to work. Minutes go by, then LOTS of minutes, and still no teacher. You and your classmates begin to get a little nervous; what are you supposed to do? You may wonder if you are in the right place at the right time.
You look up at the white board and see assignments written there; they have specific pages you should read and assignment directions, just no teacher! Reactions vary. Some students leave the classroom, others call the office and tell them the teacher is missing, and others muddle through the assignments written on the board. The one thing all students feel is frustration.
Now, imagine if this were an online class. As a student, you would be completely isolated. This type of isolation would derail even the most motivated of students. This scenario is just one example of why student engagement is so important.