Are You Seeking Student Engagement . . . or Obedience?

Credit: iStock.com/skynesher
Credit: iStock.com/skynesher
Lately, my favorite days in class have been the rowdy ones. If someone asks me how my classes are going, I can say with genuine happiness, “Great! They were so rowdy today.” What I’m recalling in that moment is a picture of students completely engaged in whatever activity we’re doing, talking with true excitement, creating a din so loud I have to try several times to get their attention (apologies to my colleagues nearby who have had to shut their doors). I’ve been teaching for over a decade and might enjoy being in the classroom now more than I ever have. That I’m having so much fun post–emergency remote teaching is, I think, unusual. Beyond having tenure (which provides an undeniable foundation of security), the biggest contributing factors are my efforts to examine and then loosen the power I hold in the classroom.

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