The Remedy for Bored Teachers? Engagement and Trust
It’s no secret that kids often find school boring. It’s
not so commonly
that teachers often find
school boring too. Bored
teachers conduct boring
lessons that bore students to tears.
No engagement = disruptive students
and frustrated teachers.
In her post “Re-engage” (http://
lynhilt.com/reengage) on The Princi-
pal’s Posts blog, Lyn Hilt writes that it
is just as important to keep educators
engaged as it is to make learning exciting for students:
How are we making sure our teachers aren’t bored?
Boredom can lead to a sense of complacency, where
a teacher feels comfortable delivering the same lessons
year in and year out, in a manner in which they’ve
always done so. Are any of us okay with that?
She goes on to suggest ways that administrators can
keep teachers engaged:
Simple acts like sitting down with teachers to discuss
their future goals, finding out what they’re passionate
about, and with which colleagues they would like to
collaborate, … inviting them to explore alternative
avenues of learning, such as through Twitter and at-
tending #edcamps, helping them see that the role of
educator is far more complex than a person with a
teacher’s manual stationed at the front of the room.
The post drew this comment from Gary Anderson:
Amen to all that. Discipline problems for students are
usually tied to boredom. Poor morale among teachers
is usually tied to a lack of trust, which results in a certain kind of entropy—which frequently leads back to
that boredom for the students.
Anderson’s comment brought to mind a post written
by Mary Beth Hertz on her blog Philly Teacher. In her
post “Freedom to Learn: Trust Me Please” (http://tinyurl.
com/69jel4w), Hertz writes about her struggle against
canned curricula and her desire that teachers be trusted
to create their own curricula because they know the best
way to reach their students:
Of course, we still need to have an agreed upon idea
of what we think our students should know. The is-
sue is figuring out how to get there. To me this is the
magic of writing a curriculum that meets the needs
of your students. It’s not a fixed document; it is fluid
and can be revised. It is not paired to a textbook or a
reading series. It is a loose framework that acts as a
map to help us navigate through the school year and
move our students toward the larger essential ques-
tions and understanding that we want them to have.
Diana Fingal is the senior editor for L&L. She has been writing for and editing periodicals for more than 20 years.