How to Teach So Students Remember

By Marilee Sprenger | Go to book overview

STEP 1 Reach

If you can't reach them, you can't teach them.

For most of us, our favorite teacher was someone we felt really cared about
and/or challenged us: someone who recognized us and reached out to us.

—Jonathan Cohen, Educating Minds and Hearts

I am facing another difficult class of 29 8th graders. They are from a variety of backgrounds. Four of them have been expelled from other schools. Two of them have older brothers who are involved in gang activity. Seventeen come from single-parent homes. Several of them are on welfare. One has a father in prison.

The first day I have to go over the rules in the handbook. Those who are following along are laughing and making snide remarks—too softly for me to hear exactly what they say. I pass out books and collect emergency cards, and finally the day is over.

The second day I decide to take the students for a [book walk] through the social studies text. I have read recently that pre-exposure to the material will help students feel more comfortable later when we cover it. Two students start a verbal battle over some of the content. Fifteen others join in. My room is next to the principal's office, and I fear the ruckus is being overheard. My heart is racing. I look at the clock, praying it is time for the bell. No such luck. I wonder why teachers on television and in movies are [saved by the

-13-

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