Bring Energy to the Classroom by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

Feb 4th, 2014

19267404-300x199An energized class of students is MUCH easier to teach than a de-energized classroom.There are times where you have a class of students, especially graduate students, who are fully engaged and committed to their learning, they have bonded with each other, and before you ever get to the class, they are already connecting and working and thinking together.  Your job, in that glorious situation, is NOT to mess it up!

But, in other classes, both undergraduate and graduate, there are times you walk into the room and you can feel the void.  It’s a void of energy and engagement.  So, now what?!  It is up to you as the professor to begin to bring energy to the classroom and to elicit it from them.  In this week’s Top Ten, I’ll share 10 questions to ask yourself so that you can more productively bring energy into your classes:

  1. Are you healthy?  This is a broad question and could be interpreted in many ways, so go ahead and run through all those areas in your mind:  Are you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy – however you define healthy?  If not, do some work there to become healthier.  All four areas matter.
  2. Are you eating food that supports your energy or that just gives you a quick boost but will end up detracting from your energy?
  3. Are you well hydrated?  Recently I heard from a nutrition and wellness specialist (with a Ph.D.) that each day, we should be drinking at least ½ ounce of water for every pound of our body weight.  Water.  That’s in addition to the other liquids you may be drinking each day.  I think I’ll go have a glass of water right now!
  4. Do you smile in the classroom?  Really.  Is smiling the facial expression that your students associate with you?  Smiling, all by itself, is energizing to you and those around you.
  5. Do you walk into the classroom with positive energy radiating off of you?  Students feel it – or notice when it’s not there.  All of us are quite attuned to other people’s energy, some more than others, of course.
  6. Do you speak to students as you’re coming into the room?  Even the first day, are you greeting students and acknowledging them?  That is energizing because it creates connections.
  7. How do you start the class?  With something uplifting, engaging, and intriguing?  Or with “Well, let’s get started because I’ve got a lot to cover today.”
  8. What does your voice sound like?  Is it interesting to listen to?  Are you interested in what you’re teaching or not?  Would anyone know that you are interested in this just from listening to you (even if they couldn’t understand the words you were saying)?
  9. Are you energetic in other parts of your life?  How we do one thing is how we do everything…  Just think about that.  Are you described as someone with a lot of energy or has that phrase never been used about you?
  10. Does it matter to you – really matter – whether your students learn what you are trying to teach them?  How much skin do you have in the game?  When you really care, it comes across to your students and affects the energy of the learning environment, i.e., your classroom, lab, office, seminar room, or wherever you are teaching.

Being energized helps your students be energized, which helps you be energized, and it just helps everyone’s teaching and learning.  Consider all ten of these questions carefully and see if there are changes you want and need to make.  It’s worth the effort.

energy_chartingWant ways that you can maximize your positive energy and minimize your negative energy, then you will want to access the teleseminar Energy Charting: Quantify Your Value. All of the ideas in this class are offered with the intention of assisting you in your quest to have your energy, attitude, and direction fully focused on high-priority and high-value endeavors.