Middle and high school teachers often find it really difficult to effectively communicate with their students. Middle and high schools are mostly teenagers, and it is true to dealing with them can be difficult at times. These young folks no longer consider themselves as children, neither they act like adults. Without being able to communicate with them properly, a teacher will not be able to pass knowledge. Even if one has successfully given lessons to elementary school kids, that same person might suffer a lot to replicate that same degree of success when it comes to middle and high schoolers.
However, by implementing some very simple techniques, it is very much possible to effectively give lessons to teenagers. Applying these techniques will make sure that the students become more likely to cooperate with their teacher, rather than becoming rebellious.
Before I move on, I would like to suggest you visit Suzanne Klein’s website, if you have had enough of teaching teenagers and don’t want to do this anymore.
Make them Feel Like Adults
When a boy or a girl reaches the age 15/16, he or she loves to consider himself/herself as an adult, even though that is not the case for sure. However, a teacher should make his high school students feel that they are being treated as adults. Young ones who fall in this age group like to be taken seriously, and you should give them that. Pay heed to their opinions, and engage into interesting discussions with them. Even if they say something very stupid, point out their mistakes in a polite and respectful way. It is okay to make mistakes, and it is true for adults as well. Don’t try to brand their behaviors as childish. Gradually make them feel the urge to take responsibilities for themselves. At the same time, do help them out when they need assistance.
One of the most common mistakes middle and high school teachers make, is to become reactive to their students. This is not the right way to go about things. If you become reactive, and respond to situations in a way that makes your students not like you as a person, you will not be able to teach them successfully as well. As I said earlier, it is okay to make mistakes, and your students will make mistakes too. At times, they will be really annoying. However, it is expected behavior from teenagers, and you should be able to anticipate the potential challenges you will have to encounter while dealing with these pupils. You should formulate plans to solve potential problems beforehand. Yes, there will be instances where things will not go as planned, but you should not respond to such situations with rage and anger. Be smart, and deal such situations with a calm head.
Identify the Reasons of Misbehavior
Even the best teacher in the world will have students in his/her class who will misbehave. There is no way to absolutely eradicate this issue. However, different students come from different backgrounds and upbringings. They have different challenges in their lives as well. In most of the cases, misbehaving students show such characteristics due to some underlying reason. The class bully who frightens everyone might have abusive parents in his house, or the student who never does his homework might not have a quiet place in his house where he can concentrate. Try to figure out why a particular student is not behaving the way you want him/her to be. Be empathetic, and try to solve the problem for your student. Talk to their parents if necessary. If you try to discipline misbehaving students with being strict from the get go, it might make things even worse in the long run.
While it is true that teenagers will commit a lot of mistakes, it is also true that they are extremely talented and are able to do a lot of creative things. Your students will show such traits too, and you should be very sincere about appreciating them when they do something remarkable. In fact, you should appreciate your students from doing their duties right, so that they get encouraged to keep things that way. If a seemingly bad student does well, even if in just one exam, you should not hesitate to let them know that they have done well, and you are proud. It will encourage them even more in the future.
Identify Red Flags
As a matter of fact, there will be instances where you will have to step in so that your students don’t do something that will ruin their lives. Teenage is the time when people start doing drugs. You need to identify the red flags so that you can prevent such activities before it gets too late. Look for signs of drug consumption in your students. Ask how they have been, and if they are going through a tough time or not. Stepping in at the right time can even save a life in the long term, and you should do this as a teacher.
Understand this, you will not be a whole batch of teenage students who will abide by your rules unless you are one of the luckiest persons in the world. The key is to be patient with your students and keep motivating them. There will be times when you’ll need to disciple a student, but that should be the last resort.