January 9, 2018

We’ve all had that student who seems uninterested in being in our class. You know the one we mean: He sits in the back, keeps one earbud in his ear, doesn’t engage in discussion, and doesn’t make eye contact. What if you made a special effort to reach that one student?

I had one of these students last semester. One day, while I was walking around the classroom with handouts, I casually mentioned to the class that we were going to be doing something fun, so that we could maybe entice everyone to take off their headphones. Our eyes met and we both smiled. After that he rarely wore his headphones, began to say hello to me before class, and a couple of times wished me a nice day when he left class. At the end of the course, on the bottom of his final essay, this student wrote me a note: “Thanks for being a great teacher. The subject matter was boring but never the teacher. Have a great Christmas and a happy new year.” It was signed with his name, but he also added, in parenthesis, “or the headphone kid”.

Let us resolve this year to remember the “headphone kid” and to make every day of the semester fun and interesting for our students so that they want to take off their headphones. You are the one that can make a difference.







Shelley Howell, Ed.D.
Teaching and Learning Consultant