#59 – Reengaging Students With School

Unpacking Education September 29, 2021 31 min

In this week’s episode, we meet with our special guest—a high school History teacher and History Department Chair at New Visions Advanced Math and Science II in the Bronx—Ruben Martinez. Ruben shares his focus on empathy and learning who’s in his class to help engage students in learning as they build new routines in the face-to-face classroom. Together, Ruben and the team share the surprises and insights that they have encountered as the new school year begins. We explore how teacher preparation should be the same every year, whether or not there is a pandemic. The past 18 months have reinforced how important it is to connect individually with students—to learn who they are, their interests, and their goals.

As the team and Ruben remind us, we all went through it this year. We all need a hug. That hug might look different for everyone. It might be a high-five. It might be about the Knicks… But we must remember to take a moment to learn to interact again.

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
STEM Facilitator and Digital Learning Specialist
Dr. Winston Benjamin
Social Studies and English Language Arts Facilitator

Your students’ life experiences are a rich source of background knowledge and potential narrative strategy for you to tap in your classroom.

 Eric Jensen, author of Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement

Engaging Students and Empowering Them to Succeed

For many teachers who are heading back to a brick-and-mortar classroom, the surprise has been relearning everyday routines: leaving the house, driving to work, and navigating the face-to-face social and emotional balance of creating a safe space for students to learn. In addition, there’s been the added challenges of maintaining social distancing, navigating vaccine mandates, and managing the stress that the shift back to face-to-face learning has brought to our students and ourselves.

Join us as we learn how Ruben Martinez and his colleagues are taking best practices from remote teaching and incorporating them into their face-to-face teaching this year. Teachers are starting the year focusing on learning the individual passions and goals of their students, and then incorporating these interests into lessons. To keep families engaged in the learning process, teachers are also creating communication pathways with them. Additionally, technology is being used by teachers to personalize the learning process for students.

In this episode, we examine the following questions with Ruben:

  • What has this past year been like for you and the students in your district?
  • What does school look like as you go back this fall?
  • What have been some of the biggest challenges and successes from this past school year?
  • What are you doing to help your students transition back to school this fall? In what way is the transition back to school different this year than other years?
  • What are some ways that you build community in your classroom?
  • How do you use technology in your classroom? Are there any tools and strategies that you will continue to use from this past school year?
  • What are some of the big lessons learned from this past school year?
  • Has your mindset toward the start of the school year changed at all since the pandemic began?