Really. It doesn’t matter if you’re five or twenty-five. If someone gives you a sticker, you’d probably be overjoyed. I know I would be.
Yesterday was the day Tia Teacher brought stickers to class. Minion stickers, to be specific. I figured I would use them as little rewards for giving right answers.
My first class of the day was a class of six beginners. We read a story about running a marathon and then I wrote the past tense forms of some irregular verbs on the board and had each student tell me the present tense. Some examples I used were brought, caught, thought, and ran. They had so much fun guessing! Then, the stickers came out. Their eyes were filled with such wonder and the sight of the Minions. It was adorable. They stuck them all over their phone cases and notebooks and were so excited to show me.
On the way to my next class, which is probably my favorite, I was walking up the stairs when two of my female students happened to see my sticker book on top of the things I was carrying. They each latched on to one of my arms, pulling, and shouting “MINIONS” in the middle of the stairwell. “TEACHER! TEACHER! WE WANT MINIONS!” I literally had to wriggle out of their clammy grasp and assure them that they would get their Minions during class. Needless to say, everyone was very well-behaved that day. No stickers for naughty children!
The rest of my classes went really well, for the most part. I have one class of middle schoolers at night who just won’t speak. They will read text if I ask, but when it comes to answering questions – silence. I try so hard, but it’s like pulling teeth and I spend my time listening to myself talk (which does get rather boring after a while).
Has anyone else encountered a class of students who simply refuse to speak? What are some techniques you’ve used to get them to participate?