The Working Evening Students
It is so true that by the time the student reaches the evening class he or she has so much stimulus from the events that occurred ealier in the day. The instructor has to create an atmosphere inwhich she or he can grab the student's attention in preparation for the new learning that is needed.
Since I teach evening classes as well I hear you clearly. They are tired and hungry when they get to my first class (4:00-7:00) and even more tired and have full stomachs during my second class (7:00-10:00)so I have to work even harder on that one.
The fun part is coming up with activities to keep the students awake and engaged during the classes. For sure no two classes are ever the same.
Dear Deborah and Gary,
I often but not always teach evening culinary arts, practical which means running a restaurant....cooking and serving. I do notice the difference in the amount of attention to instruction and detail between a daytime and evening class. I also notice that when the school restaurant is going to be busy it is much easier to keep the students on task. When it is slow, it's like herding kittens. Do you have any suggestions to help me with these challenging sessions? Rob
I can only offer a suggestion that may or may not work since I'm not that familiar with "down time" in the restaurant business. I would develop a set of skill tasks that the students could work on when times are slow. I would have a requirement that each student would complete a set number of these activities throughout the course phase. This way when down time occurs they know they need to complete a knife skill exercise, decoration project, or something else that fits within the curriculum. This keeps them working but still within your range of supervision.
Gary, I have noticed in our student body, it is actually easier with most of the night students.
This is due to them "wanting it". They are all enrolled and here to lear for a career change, or to better themselves. Yes they are tired from working all day, but the have a drive to succeed like no other, for themselves, their families, or whatever. Now the afternoon student on the other hand is a different story!!!
I agree with your assessment of the different types of students based upon the time of day the class is taught. My 4 to 7 pm students are much different from my 7 to 10 pm students. My 7 to 10 students are much more focused and hungry to learn even if they are tired.
I have found that most of my night studetns are very focused. They are better at time-management and are fully able to multi-task. They are usually older students and they rarely complain!!
I agree. I night classes, sometimes from 8pm to 11pm. If you do not have some way to grab their attention, they will go to sleep.
I work with young adults and in evening classes and even still tryig to bring them into the learning inviroment can in it self a big job .
Just trying to get the student to calm down from the days events in some cases is almost an over powering job and can cause these students not to have a stronge focus on the day class material, I have been trying to break the ice of the day with a few short stories during the class as a kind of break and then getting back into the information that is being covered.or having them bring something of themselves into the material.
You definitely have it easy, I have a mix of younger students and older students and it's half the people are there and the other on surfing through facebook for the twentieth time today. Since my class is a friday night class from 5-11, I have to hear about how I am keeping them away from their party plans all the time.
I totally agree that there is a difference between morning/afternoon students vs evening students. I have also noticed that most of the time the students attending the evening program are more career focused and more secure about what they want to accomplish. This is very helpful to guide them through the class if we as instructors take the time to discover their goals.
I agree about your analysis of different times in relation to how students respond. I teach from 4 until 10 pm. My students are tired from working all day but they are dedicated to their studies because they know what they want just as you indicated. I keep the class moving, change pace frequently and have a lot of discussion and interaction because even though they are dedicated they are human so they can wear down quickly if I only lecture.
In our school we find that the evening students are more focused and ready to work when they come to school. Plus the evening students are a little older than the day students and are more goal orientated and are ready to come to class and ready to work and learn
We also have to remember that most of the students are coming from a their job directly to the class and are tired, sometimes exhausted. It is important not only to grab their attention but to keep them engaged so that their minds aren't free to wander.
Right you about us instructors needing to keep our students engaged. I teach from 4 until 10 pm so I have to work very hard to keep my students focused on the course. They are great students and dedicated to learning but they are worn out after working all day and handling all of their life affairs. I have to change the pace of the class frequently, do a lot of activities and show them the relevancy of the content in order to hold their attention.
Since I teach the evening classes, I try to give them a short breather-get something to drink, and sometimes I have a small snack to begin with so they are not thinking about food because of hunger. We start the class and take our one break halfway through so they can eat something and then we start with a new concept to keep the interest going. If I notice people are getting tired, we break into groups and start a contest based on what we are learning. So far it seems to work.
I teach from 4 until 10 pm so I understand where you are coming from. I use the same model as you because otherwise I will lose the students. They will just sit there in a stupor and not be engaged. With your model they are engaged and focused on learning throughout the evening.
I teach in a culinary arts college. The way I create my atmosphere is to have a high level of intense instruction. This keeps their energy level at the high level it was when they came from work or from another school.
MY STUDENTS THAT COME INTO MY EVENING CLASS ARE OLDER AND MOST OF THE TIME WORKED MOST OF THE DAY SO THIER BRAIN MUST SETTLE BACK INTO THE LEARNING MODE
I teach General Education classes at a Culinary School and really struggle with the late class times, until 10:45 pm. The students like working in the kitchens and do not have as hard of a time staying engaged, but the gen ed classes are not quite as "active". I have found that I can add activities at the end, but truthfully, part of me just wants them to go home and go to bed once all of the material has been covered.