In desperate need of advice

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by CajunQT102, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. CajunQT102

    CajunQT102 New Member

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    Feb 23, 2007

    I did not receive my bachelors in education. My goal was to become a computer programmer after graduating college, but due to lack of computer related jobs in my area I decided if I could not work on computers on a daily basis I would love to teach kids how to appreciate computers and technology. I am currently working on my masters degree in education to obtain my certification. Therefore, I am sort of learning as I go.

    I am currently teaching (this is my second year) business education classes at the high school level. This semester I have been given the opportunity to teach a brand new course being offered, Digital Media. I am very excited and nervous at the same time to be piloting this course. However, I am having difficulties with my students and their attitudes towards me and the course.

    This is the first time that I have had majority 11th and 12th graders in my class. Everyone is aware that I am a new and young teacher (I am 26), but I do not look my age (I am often mistaken for a student by faculty who do not yet know me). I feel that this is a problem with these older students. They see me as being extremely close to their age and do not take me seriously as an adult, authority figure, or educator. They treat me more like a friend than a teacher. For example: the manner in which some of the female students speak to me is very sharp and snippy. I feel as though they try to cut me down to make them feel superior to me. They make demands of me as if I were a student like them. I have set forth my rules and I enforce them daily. I correct each student when they treat me with disrespect, but I know that when I walk away they laugh behind my back and mock my authority.

    I really would like to know how some of the more "seasoned" teachers would handle a situation such as this. I want my students to enjoy this class, but their attitudes and disrespect are keeping the class from becoming something great.

    I am very grateful for any help that anyone can give me!!!

    Thanks...
     
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  3. trina

    trina Companion

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    Feb 24, 2007

    Just a quick thought would be to make sure you dress as "adult" as you can. If they see you wearing the same brands as they, then that could make you seem one of the group. You can also verbally create an age gap by saying things like, "Back when I was in school," or "When you get older like me, you'll appreciate this {topic}" etc. If you are female (not sure from your post) maybe a different hairstyle will send a signal...? It sounds like you are doing the right things so far. Just don't back down. Demand respect. Perfect your dirty look for correction.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Feb 24, 2007

    You have accomplished a lot already. Good for you.

    Do a search on this site for "young teacher" or something like that. There was a good thread recently with plenty of advice.
     
  5. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2007

    I too have the same problem of looking younger than I am as does my husband. My husband had the easy solution of growing out his facial hair. With a beard he looks at least 10 years older than what he is. Now, if there were only such an easy solution for me!
     
  6. CajunQT102

    CajunQT102 New Member

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    Feb 24, 2007

    It's good to know someone else knows how I feel. I cut my hair short hoping it would add a few years, sadly it only added a few pounds. I dress in suits and I look like a kid playing dress up.

    I just wish that people (including my students) would not judge me by young appearance but by my knowledge and skills I have to offer. I do not want them to see me as a child but as an adult who is the classroom teacher not their playground pal. There has to be something I can do in the classroom to express this. I feel like I could be doing something more but I am still clueless as to what.
     
  7. ElementaryJane

    ElementaryJane Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2007

    No, you don't.

    You just think you do and it's that vibe the students are responding to.

    The person you really need to convince of your adult status is yourself, perhaps? The quotation above is a complete projection of yourself, by you. There is no objective way to confirm that statement.

    Some of this will simply go away over time. As to the rest, maybe for your own self-image try changing your out of school routine. Is there something new you can do that only 25+ year olds can do, or would want to do? Make a conscious choice to do some "older person" things (boring although they might seem to your young person energy) and it will change the way you feel about yourself. You'll carry that new vibe into the classroom on Monday.
     
  8. ThinkOutLoud

    ThinkOutLoud Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2007

    Well said Jane! I agree with doing some "older generation" stuff - even if it's just saying to the students "Hmmm...as I was visiting the ART GALLERY on the weekend, I was reminded to mention now that...blah blah blah.."
    U know? Not that an art gallery is a terribly "OLD" kind of hang out for 25-30 yr olds, but it's something to go by.
    I've had the same problems in the past regarding looking young and being treated all over again like a student teacher. The annoying thing was how the other teachers even treated me like this!
    Yep, so anything you can do to make yourself look older eg. hair cut, plain glass glasses (if you don't have bad eyes), actual glasses and NO contact lenses (if you DO have bad eyes), clothing is always important, carry a brief case of sorts.
    The most important thing is how you see yourself. Try to present authority when you walk, talk, stand, gesture. Even if it's just an act you put on when you're at school. You can always let your hair down when you get home ;)

    Maybe also TELL your students (not justifying yourself) of your years of training etc etc. Make it up if you have to. Really big note yourself and explain to them that you've got some really great plans for your lessons, yet can't go through with it IF they continue to forget WHO the teacher is. Tell them it just doesn't work that way. If they can't identify you as their teacher who deserves respect, then how can you teach them? And when they go on to fail your subject, who's fault will it be then??

    Hmm...now I'm just rambling....
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 24, 2007

    I posted this on the other thread, so forgive the repeat.

    Correct the behavior.

    You can't do anything about the attitude; it's too ambiguous. But correct the behavior. If the vocabulary or the actions are out of place, correct it using whatever system you or the school have set up.

    Ignore the tone, but listen to the words. And stop the first and the second person who use them inappropriately. Be consistent...it's incredibly important.
     
  10. CajunQT102

    CajunQT102 New Member

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    Feb 24, 2007

    That sounds like some pretty good advice.

    Also, it's not that I see myself as childlike. I seriously do not look over 18. My whole family is this way. My mom is in her late 50's and everyone tells her that she is too young to have a daughter my age (and I am the youngest of 3). It really isn't anything I can control or change.

    I do appreciate all of the advice I have received. I am taking this all in and I hope that on Monday I can at least start making some changes for the positive in my classroom. If anything I will only learn and become more stronger as a person and as a teacher from this experience. :D
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Feb 25, 2007

    Sometimes in an effort to identify with students and provide a fun atmosphere, people use humor. That's okay as long as students aren't using it to identify with you as a peer.

    Also keep in mind that all teachers have classroom mangement issues including respect (especially with teenagers) regardless of how old/young they look. Consider looking into your fellow teacher's classroom management styles and procedures and evaluating your own approach and structure.

    Also you may have to get tough on them for a bit to gain some control and then you can start making sure the students are enjoying class.
     

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