Keeping Your Students Focused

If you have never taught before, or even if you have taught kids before, believe it or not, adults can be just as challenging as kids. You may have some students who want to turn your classroom into “story time,” or you may have that student who is a know it all, and wants to do nothing but try to challenge you on your knowledge because he/she took a CPR class 10 years ago. Then there is the class clown, and last but not least there is the all mighty father time that you must watch out for. No matter what the issue in your classroom is, there is always an easy solution to help keep your class on track without all the frustration. So how do you handle some of these scenarios?

The Storyteller

Some students can’t help themselves and feel the need to tell the class about themselves or their long-lost cousin’s sister’s Aunt who saved the day after someone choked on a piece meatloaf while doing the can-can. If you don’t nip this in the bud at the beginning of class, your 5-hour class may turn into a 6 to 7-hour class. We have been there a few times. So, how do you nip this in the bud politely?  During your introduction at the beginning of class, tell your students that you love to hear great stories, but to hold on to those stories until break time or at the end of class, otherwise you won’t get through all the material in a timely manner. If you still have a storyteller on your hands, kindly remind them that you have a lot of material to get through and to hold on to their story until a break or at the end of class.

The Know It All

We hate to break it to you, but there will more than likely be one in every class that believes they know more than you do. Don’t worry, you are confident, knowledgeable, and really know your stuff.

Example Scenario

A student raises their hand after you just finished explaining how you don’t raise a victim’s feet who is in shock. They tell you that they were taught in a previous CPR class 7 years ago, that you are supposed to raise their feet 6 inches. You kindly tell them 7 years ago you would have been absolutely right, however, every 5 years data is collected on victims of shock and the powers at be discuss what procedures worked and did not work, and what practices would be in the patient’s best interest, and procedures are sometimes changed and rewritten. As of now, the new practice is that we do not raise the patient’s feet who happens to be in shock because if they have a spinal cord injury, it could cause further damage. It is good to acknowledge the student’s previous knowledge, you don’t want to belittle them in front of the class, but at the same time give them a reason as to why things have changed. It does not have to be a long drawn out explanation, just enough to give them some validation.

The Class Clown

We all love to laugh, and there is no exception in a CPR class. It breaks the tension, keeps people on their toes, and makes the class go by faster. However, a class clown can really be disruptive not only to you but to the whole class. Point blank if you have a class clown who can’t contain themselves, be polite, but stern with them. You are in control of how your classroom runs, you don’t have to put up with the shenanigans, but you don’t have to be rude to get your point across, sometimes you may have to be stern and that is completely ok.

Manage Your Time

The best way to keep on a schedule is to follow your CPR program timeline and stick to it as best you can by learning your material inside and out. There will be times when students may have difficulty with a skill, and you may have to break away from your timeline, but you can make up that lost time on another skill that your students breezed through. When it comes to breaks, try giving a 10-minute break sometime before lunch, and a 10-minute break sometime after lunch. This should be plenty of time to feed meters, use the restroom, eat a quick snack or get a beverage. A recommended time to take a lunch break is right before the AED skills as your students have all the CPR skills under their belt, and you can segway right into the AED skills after lunch. Limit your lunch break to 30-40 minutes max. Your CPR/AED class should not take more than 5 hours to teach. If you run over, no big deal, as it all takes practice to get your flow down. The more you teach the better instructor you will become.

Remember this should be fun not only for your students but for you as well.