Dealing With Teens

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Ash Inc, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Jun 13, 2013

    I have to admit, the thought of teaching teenagers use to seem very intimidating to me. But I luckily have found that the good times greatly outweigh the bad. Many of my students are friendly, genuine, and have enjoyable personalities that can really put on a smile on my face.

    HOWEVER, there are still those few that are sullen, disrespectful, and defiant that can make my days a nightmare. I know I'm lucky that those students are greatly outnumbered by the pleasant ones, but I find even one "negative" student can sour the bunch for me at times.

    I try really hard not to take it personally when a student is rude/disrespectful towards me or display other uncalled for behaviors. But I have to admit that sometimes I find it hard to let it go and even though I may have 10 positive experiences for every negative, it's that negative moment that brings me right down.

    I know teens are a particularly challenging group because they are at that age where they have a lot going on. Do you ever feel that you take things too personally sometimes? Is there a way not to take these things to heart?
     
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  3. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Jun 13, 2013

    I know exactly what you're talking about when you say that one negative experience can weigh the entire day down.

    When I first began subbing, I had an extremely hard time not taking things personally, especially since students would insult me or be disrespectful to my face. The key is to remain detached and professional - once the student knows he or she won't get a rise out of you for behaving rudely, the behavior may stop. A lot of kids get a rush out of getting a reaction out of teachers - never give them that reaction.

    It definitely gets easier! Just remember to stay calm and never take it personally. It will take practice. :)
     
  4. dreamcat

    dreamcat Rookie

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    Jun 13, 2013

    The way I look at dealing with the attitudes and rude behaviors is by accepting that it will happen. When you hear something rude or defiant just stop and say to yourself "teens will be teens" and work on fixing that behavior. Pull the student to the side one day and let him/her know your feelings and try to "understand" where they are coming from. Have an open door policy for emotions and opinion sharing in a calm and private setting and you will see more respect given by the student because you are not creating a show and you are showing that you care.
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 13, 2013

    I have great students. But, a couple can be negative every now and then. I find it is extremely important to wipe the slate clean and give the student a fresh start within a few minutes of the misbehavior.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 15, 2013

    I understand how you feel as well. I teach 8th grade and my make problems haven't been the sullen ones but the hyperactive confrontational ones. I've found ways to bring those students under my wing but I had a few sullen students this year who were acting I believe more like high schoolers than 8th headers that really the me for a loop. The only way I didn't take it personally was when I thought about how silly they were acting. At least with the hyperactive ones, they knew they were being silly, but the sullen ones actually thought they were cool. I had one student who just wouldn't verbally respond to me or meet my eyes half way through the year because I apparently thought he threw something and gave him a consequence which he decided to escalate to the highest level. The funny thing was that he would continue to follow all of my instructions but wouldn't look at me. This kid was like two feet taller than me and was afraid of looking at me in the eye. When I thought about the hilarity of it, I didn't take it personally. Next time I make a mistake like that I would definitely pull him in earlier to talk about it.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jun 15, 2013

    Not taking things to heart is a conscious decision. It takes self talk and mental preparation to think differently about things that happen in your life. If you don't like getting upset about these things, you need to re-frame the events. You need to mentally say different things to yourself when it happens.

    It is a process to get to the point where it doesn't upset you, but self-talk is the basis of behavioral changes.

    Take some time and think about the thoughts that go through your mind when an event you commented about happens. List the negative thoughts and list the emotions. List other dialogue you have with yourself regarding the situation and your attitudes toward certain behaviors. Try to determine why you have these attitudes, the chance of things actually changing so that the events NEVER happen, and what dialogue you could be having to make these events non-personal even if the words used by the student are personal.

    Even when a student says hurtful things the underlying reason is other than just to be hurtful. That is usually just a tactic for another thing happening in his or her life.
     
  8. Global Teacher

    Global Teacher Companion

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Be sure you cut right back in to them when they're disrespectful to you. You're doing them a favor, and they'll think twice the next time.

    Just be sure you don't curse or use any comments that will get you in trouble.
     

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