Although I made this meme with History/Social Studies in mind, it could just as easily apply to any subject taught in school. Something I’ve learned through both experience teaching and experience as a student is that nothing causes me to try harder in a class than having an engaging instructor. Anyone, or at least almost anyone, can sit in a classroom for hours and complete the busy work necessary to pass. Not everyone can sit in a classroom for hours while absorbing and retaining information to apply again later, though. There are classes I have passed with an A that I could tell you nothing about, and there are classes I have passed or struggled to pass where I can remember almost all of the information. The big difference between my retention in these classes is the amount of engagement my teachers have been able to get from me. Engagement is hard to measure in a tangible way, but I’ve learned that you can simply feel engagement in a class when it is present. Much like in the image/meme, you may not be able to gauge a quantitative measure of engagement from students, but there is almost a qualitative feeling or vibe (apparently a word my students said was completely antiquated) you can sense from students that enjoy being with you in class.
My biggest dilemma in doing a write-up about this meme surrounding engagement in education is that I honestly, truly, have absolutely no clue what actually makes a teacher engaging. There are ideas I have, such as relating to the students, using humor, and treating them like intelligent people rather than children to be babysat. Many of the best teaching traits, as I’ve heard, are not learned in a classroom but are learned through years of experience in the field — I think student engagement is one of those traits. When I eventually become a teacher there are so many traits I need to refine, but finding a way to consistently engage my students and give them a desire to be in class will be the holy grail of my career to search for!