What do a 17 year old and a 10 year old have in common?

My new teaching assignment has moved me from teaching grades four to six to grades ten to twelve. Whoa. Paradigm shift happening! There are so many things to learn.  Here are some things I have realized during my last two months of work. (warning: some/most/all of the following insights are generalizations. I do realize that each student is different etc.)

High School students:

  • have a greater frame of reference. They will jump on any piece of information they deem incorrect!
  • force their teachers to be far more humble due to thepreviously mentioned insight.
  • expect their teachers to stretch their grey matter on a regular basis. This is why I have frequent headaches.
  • constantly fret about their futures and wonder what in the world they will do with themselves in one, two or three years. So many people give them so many opinions they do not know what to make of themselves.
  • are on the cusp of adulthood. This fact scares the crap out of them. They often respond with indifference or attitude. For the love of all that is holy, never say the words, “this is an adult conversation” or anything that resembles these words. It is so condescending to a high school student.

It isn’t all different. There are many similarities which I believed have helped me create a successful high school classroom.

High School students:

  • want to be heard and respected. Their opinions matter.
  • want to feel that they are worthwhile.
  • want to play. See the photo below!
  • want to be kids. They may be almost adults, but they want to savour the last few drips of adolescence.
  • want to feel safe with their educational staff. They will push the boundaries and that is what they should do. We have to be the place they can learn how far those boundaries stretch.

Wow. What these past two months have taught me is that the biggest difference between a 17 year old and a 10 year old is height. I love my job!






4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tammie Sarauer
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 12:39:24

    Love this!! So true Melissa, thanks for sharing.


  2. Deb Rutland
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 13:16:12

    Love your last comment the most, “Love my job”. This is so obvious in your positive attitude. Like you, Melissa, I also love my job and am thrilled to be working with you this year!


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