Posted on

Student Engagement


It’s not that hard to relate most content in a high school class to the students’ lives. Just about anything can connect to dating, friendship, betrayal, family, or culture. For example, when I teach how to write an essay introduction, I explain that guys don’t just approach chicks and say, “Hey, let’s go out.” Usually, there is some kind of lead-in to the main point, like, “Hey, don’t we have third period together? Do you understand the project she assigned last week? That class is fun, huh? The teacher is so cool and I really learn a lot from her. What do you think? Oh yeah? Hey, well, did you want to maybe team up to work on that project? Oh, you already have a partner? Well, do you maybe want to go out to eat and see a movie on Saturday?” I explain that the guy had a hook, lead-in, and topic sentence, just like their essay introductions should. Easy, huh? All I have to do is make them think that something in the class relates to them and their lives. When they ask, “what does this have to do with me?” it may be ironic if you are discussing Narcissus in mythology, but it’s also a good question that teachers benefit from answering thoughtfully!

About celinatinsley

Ms. Tinsley is a high school English teacher, who has been in the classroom for 15 years. Give or take one or two. She lost count. She also hasn't been in the same classroom for that long. She leaves occasionally to go home and sleep so she can dream about a job where she earns respect. She loves her students but not in a creepy way. And when I say "love," I mean "likes enough to go to work most days." Although she did call in sick today. And it felt good. And she might do it again tomorrow. But otherwise, most days are pretty good. Rather, not that bad. Well, mostly worth living. She has published a book entitled, "Teachers Talk Smack," available through She has garnered much critical praise with this original work full of charming illustrations and humorous anecdotes about the joys of teaching. Well, she has garnered one review from her best friend at work on And the book really is the opposite of the joys of teaching. She is currently working on her second book about teaching. By "working," I mean roughly brainstorming in her head.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s