Taught with Thought

Unique teaching styles make time in class more enjoyable for students


Mrs. Lentz smiles out at her class, dressed in a hawaiian theme.

Class begins with an entertaining story that comes straight out of the life of English Language Arts teacher Mrs. Christina Lentz. Whether it is a dream, or a real life scene of her day, the students laugh with her and provide commentary on how amusing, yet crazy, she is. Many students consider a class “enjoyable” when the agenda does not always consist of sitting at a desk for an hour each day, only listening to lectures and taking tests. Although there are a select number of classes where such a routine is in place, many teachers have been working to add some fun into their lesson plans to increase engagement in their students. Mrs. Lentz is one teacher with the belief that it is important to incorporate the interests of students into lessons to keep them motivated in class. 

“It’s no secret that students love social media, videos, and taking pictures, so we recently tried to do a spinoff of ‘Be Real’ where we had kids answer questions and then post real time reactions to the text,” Mrs. Lentz said. “I realize everyday cannot be fun and games, but I certainly try to make my class one where kids enjoy coming – even if they hate the content.”

While teachers like Mrs. Lentz prefer to have their classes participate in activities (mostly) pertaining to the topic the students are learning, other teachers, like math teacher Mrs. Brittany Williams, like to stray outside of that “relate to the subject” category of activities.

“I do like a lot of icebreakers and stuff with [the Algebra I students] because they switch groups so often,” Mrs. Williams said. “Today, for instance, I made them pretend they were going to a picnic and they had to go around and say what they were bringing to the picnic, but it had to be alphabetical.”

Coach and PE teacher Mr. Mike Bunton also implements class-bonding exercises into his teaching to give his students a chance to relax and have fun getting to know each other.

“We do restorative circles every Wednesday in my classroom,” Mr. Bunton said. “The reason why I love that is because you get to learn more about each other, and I’m really big on classroom community.”

Mr. Michael Bunton gives students words of encouragement. He believes in lifting students up to achieve their goals. (Haley Getten)

Mr. Bunton teaches a number of classes, including Driver’s Ed, freshman PE, and Advanced Weight Training. He has had many ideas for ways to get his Driver’s Ed students specifically, moving while still learning different concepts.

“We do a lot of moving around activities,” Mr. Bunton said. “We go outside, and we can learn visually whether it’s looking at colors of curbs, looking at tires, or looking at certain things that we can use to try to help us learn the content better.”

“I want my students to understand the importance of reading, writing, and thinking outside of the mandatory assignments given, and I want them to grow their passion for the written and spoken word.” Mrs. Lentz said. “More importantly, I want my kids to leave my room feeling loved, validated, seen, heard, accepted, and proud of exactly who they are.”

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a series of changes for teachers, including how they went about their day and how they taught. Mrs. Williams believes that the bumpy road known as COVID-19 changed her teaching and gave her the ability to express herself more in a way that she did not before.

“I was definitely very rigid,” Mrs. Williams said. “I would have taught bell-to-bell every day and there’s no way we would have as many review days as we have.”

Williams made it a priority of sorts to give her students review days when they were necessary so they could come to her with questions when they needed to, and the other students could work independently on whatever they needed to get done.

“Kids were missing from here for certain reasons,” Mr. Bunton said. “So I was very open and understanding about that. We all have stuff we deal with, so my teaching styles have changed in a way because of two years ago when COVID started.”

Even if the pandemic had not hit so hard, there was still an importance of showing that love and empathy not only to other staff members, but also to students.

“I try my best to be real, relatable, and empathetic all while having high expectations,” Mrs. Lentz said. “I like to make jokes, as I appreciate playful banter. I am constantly trying to put myself in their shoes because I know seven hours of school can be rough.”