Challenges with teaching smart high school kids??

Discussion in 'General Education' started by joeschmoe, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    Dec 14, 2013

    I teach 11-12th grade science and I try to have faith in my students when I can. On one of their end-of-the-semester projects, one of my students cheated. I don't want to go into details, but I didn't catch the act. Another student did and told me. I have zero reason to believe he would lie and I kind of even guessed who it was even before he told me her name (from past issues). Since I didn't catch her red-handed though, I am not going to make a big deal out of it. Frankly, I don't think it'll change her grade at all. The real kicker is that I only teach one period of "smart" kids. And this happened in that period.

    I talked to my department head about it and she said yeah get used to it. It's one of the reasons why she hates teaching the smarter kids. They are very conniving and creative when it comes to cheating. I mean it makes sense.

    Overall, it has me thinking and re-evaluating what I want in my career. I wanted to eventually move into teaching at my old high school in their magnet program. Behavior-wise, I know it will be a lot easier. But I'm kind of curious what the inherent challenges are coming with teaching older high school kids who are bright? Are the main problems dealing with the cheating and helicopter parents?
     
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  3. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    I would think you may also have to deal with some students who exhibit a sense of entitlement and some who lack motivation to do anything academic.
     
  4. RadiantBerg

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    Entitlement perhaps, but I wouldn't think you would see too many who lack the motivation to do anything academic. That would be more of a "low-level" class problem.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Lots of the smart kids have their whole identity wrapped around being smart... they think that, without the "smart", they're nothing.

    Kind of a lot of pressure for a 17 year old. Sometimes when they're not confident in their "smarts" they cheat.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

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    I have never once caught an on-level student cheating. All of my cheaters have been advanced students and their parents. Yep, parents cheat for their kids.

    Some generalities:

    Smarter kids are far more entitled (as are their parents) than regular kids.

    Smarter kid and their parents are more concerned about getting an A than they are about being prepared for the next level of classes. They would rather their children get easy As than be challenged. Regular kids' parents are concerned about their children passing - when that is a given, they seem to really want their kids to get something out of a class.

    Smarter kids are much less likely to be patient with classmates. They want to show off that they have the answers and totally disregard wait time, even when taught about it. I've had to assign detentions for kids calling out repeatedly before they stopped.

    Some smarter kids set out to prove they are smarter than their teachers. I acknowledge the possibility at the start of every semester and warn them to tread lightly if they think they might be a snot about things ;) I love learning from my students, but I can't stand arrogance. And I tell them that.

    Smarter students seem to think that the bigger the words they use, the more impressed a teacher will be. I have had reports submitted that are a pain to read because of it. I teach science and explain that scientists are to the point and factual. Leave the flowery prose for English class.

    Of course there are lots of advantages to teaching smarter kids.

    I personally like having a mixture of on-level and advanced kids. They balance each other out nicely, even if they are in different periods.
     
  7. HorseLover

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    I don't teach high-school, but one thing I have noticed with some higher-level kids is the tendency to rush through things and thus make some "silly" mistakes and/or leave incomplete questions
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't really like the smarter kids :)
    My experience is different though, with my student population, the smarter kids are those who would probably be the average kid in a 'regular' school, but with work they'd easily get a B or A. They're not very high level, advanced or exceptionally smart.
    However, the difference here is that they usually seem smarter because
    a. their parents value education and push the to do well
    b. they haven't ditched school as much as the others (not going to school at all for months, or only attending 50 % of the time)
    c. or their behavior has been somewhat better, so they haven't been sent out of classroom as much as the others

    or the combination of these.
    These kids are arrogant, they think their smarter than all others because everything comes easy to them compared to their classmates. They're arrogant to the point that they think they know everything better than the teacher. They often have an attitude, don't seem to care, etc. I have one girl who would talk down to others, make fun of them and belittle them (she has a lot of issues though and she's always in trouble, so that's not the only problem with her). I had to set quite a few of them straight.

    So give me a kid who's struggling, even hates school but at least tries a little, I take them before I take the know-it-alls. (because at my schools, most of the smart kids have been know-it-alls)
     
  9. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    By far, the academically gifted students are the ones who refuse to do work if (by their standards) it's not "challenging" enough. They are also very vocal about their opposition, which adds to the annoyance.
     
  10. RadiantBerg

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    I guess it's different in middle school or elementary school compared to high school. In HS, they are more concerned about the grades and happy to jump through the "easy" hoops to get the grades.
     
  11. GTB4GT

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    I don't have as much teaching experience as some or most here, but I have noticed that sometimes the "smart kids" (and it's oftentimes the females I've noticed) that don't want to tackle anything that might stretch them. in fact, they can only work and do problems (math teacher here) after they have seen it worked. Then they can repeat the process but any variation results in "you didn't show us how to do that one". I tell them math is too big to model ALL variations of any kind of problems.
    I'm not sure that some of them are really "smart" (whatever that means) or just really, really good at replication. there seems to be a big difference to me.
     
  12. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    That sounds like a general problem with kids these days in general. They can't think critically or out of the box. They only operate in parrot mode.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    They lack mathematical thinking skills. They probably lack number sense and abstract reasoning. They are probably now and have learned math procedures but never internalized what math means. So, any student with weak number sense or abstract reasoning skills can't stretch in the way you would like them too. Depending on the level of math you teach, there are many previously learned or at least "covered" skills that a person needs to think about to gage what need to be done with the more difficult math problems.

    I think all to often we expect kids to stretch when they don't have the underlying skills to stretch as far as we would like them to stretch or they have never been taught how to look for the variations. This isn't a 1 year 1 teacher fix. It takes all teachers, every year to make this happen. Unfortunately we have a weak math curriculum that either teaches by procedure OR the newest approach is to throw the kids to the wolves and have them figure it out on their own. The real solution is in the middle somewhere.

    But then, this is just my opinion.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

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    Another issue is the smart kid that isn't really smart. He is a bit over average but can memorize well. He gets into high school advanced classes and gets his first B or C and it all hits the fan.
     
  15. RadiantBerg

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    That's exactly right. All my CP geo kids who get As in my class think they should go to honors alg 2 the next year. I try to explain to them that it is much different--no study guides, mostly all application problems, very little direct instruction (not to mention alg 2 and geometry are totally different games). I tell them constantly that there is nothing wrong with being an excellent CP student. They don't listen to me and go to honors, they get their first C in the first marking period of honors, and then when they aren't happy with that, they transfer back to me for CP alg 2....but unfortunately that C stays on their transcript. They think my warnings apply only to other students...
     
  16. Blue

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    Dec 15, 2013

    After I completed my September experience in high school Home Ec, I went back to my college advisor and pleaded with her to get me out of Secondary Education. I wanted to teach students who wanted to learn, and the high school students I saw did not want to learn or think or explore concepts.
     

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