Help! 21 and teaching high school

Discussion in 'High School' started by SpanishTeacher4, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. SpanishTeacher4

    SpanishTeacher4 Rookie

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    Sep 7, 2011

    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. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Sep 8, 2011

    I look the same way...young for my age. One of my kids (a 4th grader) was looking at my ID badge and he said I looked like a teenager!

    Dress is super important. Make sure you are dressed professionally and older than your students. This is a really easy way to distinguish you are the teacher...they are the students.

    Good luck!
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Sep 8, 2011

    Dress professionally. Don't shop in the juniors dept for work clothes.

    Practice "the look" ... the look that can stop any misbehavior of a 6'2" 18 year old senior.

    Be pleasant and approachable, but don't get too comfortable with your students. Because of your age, expect questions like "do you like to drink?" Don't participate in those conversations, have a planned response like, "I don't see how that is pertinent to class, moving on, we're ready for page 12 ..."
     
  5. MissMatty

    MissMatty Rookie

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    Sep 21, 2011

    I am 26, but my students think I am 22, and I get asked all the time variations of 'do you have a boyfriend/go clubbing/drink/etc' I simply remind them it is not acceptable to speak to me like that.

    However, being young can have advantages. My students were devastated when they realised I knew what 'DTF' meant, because I had also seen Jersey Shore.
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Sep 21, 2011

    I just turned 22 and my seniors actually feel the most comfortable with me and two other young teachers. I've never gotten weird questions from them. The other two usually have a beer when we go out to dinner on thursdays so the kids see that but I haven't seen one that cared. They did ask why I didn't drink and i just explained that I don't like beer. No more questions about it :) In my opinion it would have been more problematic to have ignored the question
     
  7. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2011

    My mother was 20 when she was teaching mostly 17- and 18-year-olds! She graduated a year early. I think what everyone else has said is pertinent--dress professionally, shut down inappropriate questions, don't talk about clubbing/bar hopping/similar that you might have done over the weekend.

    I tried to hide the fact that I was a first year teacher unless a parent directly asked. A lot of parents have unfair perceptions of first years. This worked for me because it was these kids' first year at the school. And while my situation was different (teaching four-year-olds), I did have some parents say, "You're so young" and even an irate one in a conference say, "Well, how would you know? You don't have kids!" (I responded sweetly, "Yes, I do, 18 of them all day long"--maybe not the best response, but I was mad too.) You've got to grow a thick skin and come up with some good responses to these types of remarks.

    Also, at 5'2", I assume you either get a lot of stuff in the petites department or get stuff altered. Having great fitting stuff will add a layer of professional that the kids won't have. A good blog I've found about petite clothing and alterations is called Alterations Needed. You can google it.

    Ask and borrow ideas and worksheets from other people in your department. If you have departmental meetings or common planning or lunch together, ask everyone, "I need a good idea about how to present verbs. What do you do?" Also be quick to offer ideas or worksheets to other teachers--a new teacher often has fresh ideas. Don't be afraid to look like you're not perfect--all the best teachers steal ideas. :angel:

    Finally, I don't mean to be mean, but three preps isn't really all that bad. My mother has done it for years, and sometimes she'd have four preps. She teaches foreign language. I'm guessing there are other teachers at your school who have more than two preps. You may just have to suck it up for this year, then negotiate your preps when you're offered a full-time position.
     
  8. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Sep 28, 2011

    I agree with the other posters - dress professionally. I started teaching when I was 21 and had a kid in my first class that was 20. He told me his age and asked how old I was. I politely informed him it was none of his business. I said I am old enough to have graduated high school and a four year university program. I even had cafeteria workers that thought I was a student. I made a real effort to dress like a teacher and not like a 21 year old and that seemed to help a bunch.
    Don't feel bad about 3 preps. Last year, I had 6 different preps. My first year, I had 5 different preps.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 1, 2011

    I'm 23, but I look 16. >_<

    It really is a challenge for me to look like a teacher, but I went all out and spent a lot of money on clothes and accessories. (I don't generally like to go clothes-shopping.)

    A lot of my peers can dress semi-casually and it works for them. I'm one of the unlucky ones, so I deck out in a dress shirt, slacks, tie, do my hair, leather belt, leather shoes, I carry a leather binder, have a leather watch, and I'm going to save for a suit-jacket or blazer. My 'civilian' clothes for years has been a hand-me down tee, shorts, sneakers, and I never put anything in my hair.

    I still look really young because I can't grow a beard or anything. I guess one plus of looking this way, is that it makes you very conscientious of not acting like 'buds' with your classmates and maintaining that professional distance that is necessary. You really have to drastically differentiate yourself from the kids.
     

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