The key to getting through to any student in any classroom is to present engaging material that you care about. This is the easiest way to create interest in any particular topic, no matter how complex. If you have gotten a job teaching kids anything, chances are you are pretty passionate about that particular subject. Let your passion out in the classroom and watch your students gravitate toward that subject. If they can sense that what you’re talking about is important without you imposing any kind of authority on them, they will naturally want to work hard to understand the subject you are trying to teach. Your job is half-done before you even start grading papers.
Come to the classroom every day with energy. Kids can sense when your heart isn’t in a subject, or you just don’t have the strength that day. Whenever you can, enter the classroom with enthusiasm about your subject. Don’t just read from the book and try to force it down your students’ throat because you have to. Students will always pick up on that kind of energy every time, especially high school and middle school kids. It’s okay to go outside of the box at times when you’re trying to teach students the finer points of any subject. Chances are, the administration won’t mind you getting the students excited about physics or chemistry (as long as you don’t overdo it).
Daniel Behan of McQuaid Jesuit Middle School has been working to get students excited about world and American History for over twenty-five years.