Age: 21 Job: High School Teacher!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by SpanishTeacher4, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. SpanishTeacher4

    SpanishTeacher4 Rookie

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    I was wondering if anyone has any advice for me: I started teaching last year and now I'm long-term subbing at one of the best high schools in my state. I'm only 21! Some of my students are only 3 years younger than me! Additionally, I have been given 3 preps to prepare for, when all of the other teachers in the department only have 2. I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed and was hoping for some new-teacher advice on dealing with students and parents. I want to be taken seriously as a new teacher! (It doesn't help that I'm 5'2" and look like I'm 17!)
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I was 22 when I started teaching, and I had seniors. My oldest senior turned 20 before I turned 23. I could have easily passed for one of them, and even had the assistant principal stop me in the hall during class time to ask me why I was in the hallway. He was really embarrassed when I told him that I was on the way to the lounge to check my mailbox.

    I had five groups of seniors that year. I never had any issues with any of them. I didn't dress "old" or purposely try to appear older. I was just myself. I did dress professionally, but I also dressed my age. I made it clear that I was the one in charge, and I was not their buddy.

    I never had any trouble with parents either. The year I switched to middle school, I had more comments about my age from parents. I was 25 by then.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Congratulations!

    First of all, let go of the fact that you have 3 preps. It's very common to have 3 (or more) preps, even if that's not the case at your school. The fact is that as a LTS you sometimes are left with the extras and the less-than-desirable courses, and that's just part of the deal. Get yourself organized, stay organized, and show your school that you can thrive even with 3 preps. It might end up getting you a permanent position.

    As for the fact that you are young and look even younger....Make sure that you dress professionally. Dress suits might be a good option for a while. Wearing glasses and pulling your hair back might help you appear a little older. What's even more important than your physical appearance is your demeanor. Make sure that you act like a teacher! Make sure that you look and sound like you know what you're doing. Speak with authority. Be firm, fair, and consistent. Don't try to be the teacher that everyone loves or the teacher who is everyone's BFF.

    Good luck to you!
     
  5. SpanishTeacher4

    SpanishTeacher4 Rookie

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    Thanks, you make me feel a lot better. I've been stopped by other teachers for a pass. I finally now have an ID badge so I look more "official." I feel like I dress even more professionally than the veteran teachers because I need to. I almost feel out of place!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Congratulations on landing a job in such a tough economy.

    I started teaching at 21. Some of the kids I taught were close friend with my younger sister. Somehow it all works out.

    And I also started with 3 preps. Honestly, it's very common in high school; the years when I have only 2 preps are somewhat rare.

    And dressing professionally is NEVER a mistake.
     
  7. SpanishTeacher4

    SpanishTeacher4 Rookie

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    Yea 3 preps really isn't that bad. It's just the fact that there are some teachers in the dept. that have only 1...those lucky ducks!
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    My mother has five preps and she is department head.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Honestly 2 gets boring. That means you're teaching one subject 3 times a day. After a while, you get sick of the same lesson.

    I actually prefer 3.

    TeachinTexas, when I was department chair I had 4.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    And I started when I was 21 as well. Of course, my students were elementary so that didn't matter as much.
     
  11. SpanishTeacher4

    SpanishTeacher4 Rookie

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    Yea, and I know I shouldn't be wishing to be a little older, but I feel that the more experienced teachers don't have to try as hard to get the attention/good behavior from the hs students.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oh, they sometimes do.
     
  13. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I'm 21 and have 8th graders, 10th and seniors. I don't try to act older or dress older. I dress professionally every day and maintain a profession demeanor. We also have 2 other new teachers between the ages of 22-24. None of us have problems with discipline from the seniors. It took me a good two weeks to figure out the seniors but now I adore them and wouldn't trade them for any other class! They're very active in class and I can joke around with them but they still know when it's "serious time." I think part of it is because I still remember my senior year so vividly :lol: I can relate to doing all the apps for college and that sort of thing and offer them advice that worked for me.

    I will note that I never told any of the students how old I am. My cooperating teacher said I always looked older when I dressed for school-like 24 or 25. I haven't purposefully hidden that fact from my students but I have decided not to share it.
     
  14. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Maybe I am missing something, but what is meant by preps? I thought preps were your plan time (no students), thats what we call it, but the way I am reading it here, seems like something else.
     
  15. SpanishTeacher4

    SpanishTeacher4 Rookie

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    When asked how old I am I usually say, well if you know I finished college last year, you could probably do the math and figure it out. (They don't have to know I finished college early!) I def agree it's more about the way you present yourself than what you wear. I may look young, but I definitely do not act like a high school student.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    In secondary ed, a prep is also a different class you teach. So one prep might be Algebra, and another Geometry.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Why would you answer that question?

    My response would be: "Why do you ask?"

    If they persist: "You know what, I forget. But Mr Principal has that information on my job application. Would you like me to write you a pass to see him so you can ask??"
     
  18. SpanishTeacher4

    SpanishTeacher4 Rookie

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    Different level/class you teach. I have spanish 1, 3, and 4. I have no free period to myself in the classroom
     
  19. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I didn't have kids ask when I graduated but it wouldn't really matter, they would have no idea if I graduated early or late, with my bachelor's or masters, etc... I did get asked where I taught before that and I said I did some teaching at x district, which was really only my student teaching but hey it still counts :D
     
  20. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    I have a late birthday and was 21 when I started teaching. On my first day, in my first class I had a kids say "I'm 20, how old are you?" I promptly told him it was none of his business how old I was. He had been struggling to pass some of the required social studies classes and was a 3rd year senior. I never did tell them how old I was.

    My first school didn't use block scheduling and I had six preps my first year. As the new guy on the block, you aren't really going to get your choice of classes and are just going to have to deal with it. Three preps would be great. I have five this year.
     
  21. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    It does suprise me the closeness in age for some teachers when they go straight to a high school job. Being in elementary we don't have that type of issue, always have the students try and guess my age. Just a different monster, could not have imagined going straight to h.s. to start teaching.
     
  22. TutoringMatch

    TutoringMatch Rookie

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    The most important thing is to set the tone right in the beginning. Once they know that you "mean business" they won't try and take advantage of the fact that you are young. This doesn't mean that you can't be friendly or approachable, it just means that you have clearly demonstrated the roles in the classroom.
     
  23. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    I was teaching college Spanish at age 21. It was a little awkward at first, but if you act like an adult, your students will treat you like an adult. I think you'll be fine!

    I'm sorry about the preps thing, though. No planning periods at all?
     
  24. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    I started teaching high school Spanish three months after I turned 22. I had students as old as 20 and 21 (the 21 year old was only three months younger than I was!) I just made sure to be professional and not overly buddy buddy with the kids. If the kids asked me my age, I just told them I was in my early 20s. If you don't act buddy-buddy with them, they won't get the idea that they can treat you any differently than any of the other teachers.

    It was actually tougher dealing with the parents because when they were trying to get their way about something you'd done in class (a deadline, a consequence, etc for the students), the would try to treat you like a disobedient child or an incompetent. I can't tell you how many times I heard "I have children older than you!" in my first few years of teaching.

    Honestly, if you behave professionally people will overlook your age. It only becomes an issue if you're being immature. I'm now 25 and I still get comments on how "mature" I am for my age. What they really mean is professional. I had a co-worker, however, who has since left the profession who was considered immature (friending kids on FB, bringing her puppy to school, arguing with the kids). She was six years older than I was.
     
  25. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    So, I guess my response when my kiddos ask my age: "Older then dirt." wouldn't work in high school. When I taught 3rd grade, I made them do the math to figure out my age.
     

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