Hello and happy Saturday. The time has come for me to sit down and reflect upon my findings as a high school teacher, especially after having taught young kids before and being put in a situation in which I really had no choice but to take a job I wasn’t sure I could tackle. Here are five things I learned while working with teens. Let’s get started, shall we?
1. Teens want attention from the teacher
If you’ve taught younger kids, then you for sure have been struck by and avalanche while sitting down by your desk minding your own business. You know, little kids wanting to hug you or touch your hair or tell you how much they love you. Well, teenagers won’t do that for sure, but they’ll do things to grab your attention, just like little kids do. I got kids complimenting my makeup and wardrobe, or asking me whether I’d heard this song or this artist. I had kids around my desk, just making conversation or asking random questions. And once I was by my desk and they had to fill out some pages from their workbook, and I noticed they were forming a circle around my desk. They weren’t talking, just doing what I’d asked them to do, but they were around me, just like little kids.
2. Teens like little kid stuff (sometimes)
I’m not telling you to become a kindergarten teacher with them because they’ll probably think you’re ridiculous, but there are things I used to do with my babies that worked with teens as well. I’ve told you about some already, like the rewards and candy I gave them, or the contests we used to have in class. Even the happy face system is something I doubted would work, but it did. Find which movies they liked when they were younger and play them. They’ll love it.
3. Teaching high school is not for everyone
I’ve said some of the good, so now let’s transition to some of the bad, okay? This is something that really shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it sort of did, at least to me. I always thought that I would be great teaching any grade or level, but that my preference were younger kids. I realized that it wasn’t just a matter of preference, but of skill and attitude. There are some skills high school teachers need to have and that I don’t, but besides that, I honestly don’t really like teenagers that much and I know some people do. My heart wasn’t in it, but I think in other circumstances I’d still hate it. Teaching high school isn’t for me.
4. Teens are manipulative
Over the course of three months I had students cry to me about grades, talking to my boss about situations they deemed “unfair” before talking to me about them, I had students speak in Spanish to me during the English class even though I repeatedly told them to speak in English as a sign of respect. I had students lie to me about assignments they hadn’t handed in when they were supposed to, and all sorts of situations that I’d never had to deal with. I’m not saying all teenagers are like this and I’m not saying they act this way all the time, but sometimes they’re ready to spot a naive soul, maybe a young inexperienced teacher, like they thought I was, to get an easy grade in a subject.
5. They’re not all going to like you
I think it’s easy being liked by young kids. I think it’s easy enjoying the classes you teach them, and I think that was a big shock for me, if not the biggest. I do think if students like you they’ll enjoy more the classes and they’ll learn more efficiently, so I make it a priority to become the teacher they like because of the content of my classes and the way I deliver my lessons, but also because of the kind of person I try to be. There were students that didn’t like me, though, and in a way I just settled with that fact and didn’t give it much thought after.
What are some other things you believe I missed in this post? Let me know in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila