How to keep students engaged in lessons? After many years of teaching, still feel the one factor that is most important in this equation is self motivation. Students that have the mindset of learning and doing their best, no matter what, will succeed any any endeavor. It’s purely coincidence that this week at our school we had a guest speaker talk to our student body. Bill Kazmaier, 3-time World’s Strongest Man, was touring schools this week in Southeast Alaska and wanted to talk to students about how to succeed. In a nutshell, it’s all about mindset. I didn’t hear the beginning of his story because I came to the assembly late, but he was an abused, and bullied child growing up, and came from a dysfuntional family where his father abused him until the age of 10. Things like having bricks thrown at him!
His story is about getting into that mindset of succeeding. It doesn’t matter what your environment is like, you can always turn things around by personally deciding to change things. It is purely up to an individual if they want to succeed. There is NO excuse that you can claim that stops you. You only stop yourself. I wish we had more of these types of individuals speak to students throughout their K-12 education. Too often we have students throw blame about their failure to others, when in fact, they should be blaming themselves! He repeatedly reminded students that teachers care, and they will do anything they can to help them succeed. It was a pretty inspirational talk. He admitted, like most teachers feel, that he is only talking to 20 kids in an audience of 300. It goes in one ear, and out the other. Don’t get me wrong, the students during the assembly were very quiet and respectful, but I think the main message was not fully appreciated. I asked my students that attended what the main message was the next day, and only a few could tell me what his message was really about.
How do you engage students? They should really be engaging themselves!