What is it like to teach high school?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Arky, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Arky

    Arky Comrade

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    Apr 22, 2009

    I started to post this under secondary ed. but I thought others might enjoy reading this.
    My son is getting ready to graduate with a biology degree in education. I teach elementary and do not know what to tell him about high school.

    What are your biggest frustrations?
    Is discipline a big problem or with just a few?
    Are the kids disrespectful?
    Is it hard to get them to work?

    He will be just 22.
     
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  3. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    Apr 22, 2009

    Arky, I would say the answers to your questions depend on a lot more than age. It's true that high school students have developed the most mentally and emotionally -- generally speaking. However discipline, disrespect, and getting students to work varies a lot on the teacher, the class, the kind of school, etc. It also depends on the students' backgrounds, for example, how their parents raised them.

    Good discipline and respect can be achieved if you start from day one, and if you have the support of parents and administrators. I generally don't have issues with discipline or respect because I let my students know from day one what I expect of them and I follow through. I also have administrative support. However I can't say that I could succeed in any classroom. My students in general are more motivated rather than less and this works to my advantage.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Apr 22, 2009

    I taught high school English for two years. I was 22 when I started teaching, and I had seniors. It was not as weird as you think it would be. Although we were only a few years apart in age, we were not social peers.

    I never had any major issues with discipline or with getting kids to work. The problems I had were things that came with inexperience, and I realized when things weren't working and worked to correct them.

    My students weren't typically disrespectful, but you'll always find one here or there.

    I enjoyed my curriculum, but I never felt like I "belonged" at the school because I didn't have my own classroom and felt like I wasn't there long enough to become par tof the school.

    Made the switch to middle school after my position was eliminated. I took the middle school job to stay in the district until there was a position available at the high school again, but it was 10 years before they had a position! They did offer it to me, but by that time I'd fallen in love with middle school.
     
  5. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Apr 22, 2009

    I agree as well. I am in a very similar situation as your son; I'm in my 2nd year teaching HS history, and I started my first year one month removed from turning 22. The key is the first few days of school - he will have to lay down his rules at the beginning and not try to be the nice guy right away.

    I was not a nice teacher until October of my first year. I'm not saying that's the only way, but it worked for me and I rarely have discipline problems with the kids because they respect me.

    High school is just unique. You really have to prove yourself to the kids- they're not going to give you instant credibility. Give respect, get respect has been the mantra for me in my short career so far.
     
  6. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Apr 22, 2009

    I love teaching high school students.
    I don't have any new insight to add.
    Respect is H U G E with this age group. They will work their hearts out for you if you respect them. They will shut down and make your life miserable if you don't respect them.
     
  7. courtneymarie

    courtneymarie Rookie

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    Apr 22, 2009

    I would never want to teach anything other than high school. I'm only 23 and I teach juniors and seniors. I don't have many discipline problems at all, and I think it's because they know what they can and can't get away with with me. I don't harp on them for every single thing, but there are some things I absolutely won't tolerate. I love my age group, but I honestly don't think I'd like 9th and 10th grade as much. My seniors only have 14 days left and I'm going to miss them so much.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Apr 22, 2009

    My experience with high school is limited to a small group of extremely motivated Jr's and Sr's who are enrolled in a special school run as a joint effort between the district and a community college (the kids graduate with their AA and HS diploma at the same time...actually, the AA comes first...kinda wierd). Anyway, that gives me a skewed perspective since these kids are high achievers, and my day job is as middle school teachers. I've found most High Schoolers to be great kids (in spite of what I said yesterday) who can talk and discuss academic topics in a rational mature manner, but, as others have said, still keep the line between "friend" and "teacher".
     
  9. ANGRY AL

    ANGRY AL Companion

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    Apr 22, 2009

    It all depends upon the high school. In an urban setting (I guess in your area, that would be some place like Little Rock), you're going to run into a lot more frustrations than you will in a suburban or rural setting. In my own school, discipline is a HUGE problem. Everything else stems from that. Are they disrespectful? Absolutely. Hard to get them to work? Without a doubt. I would say (semi-tongue-in-cheek) that education comes in around number 37 on our list of priorities.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Apr 22, 2009

    Thread Hijack ... CourtneyMarie ... it sounds like we teach the same thing, 11th and 12th grade English. Cool! I love my seniors, too. I have them as junior and seniors. We end up as a very tight group by the time this part of the school year rolls around. I cry at graduation.
     
  11. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I absolutely love my seniors. This is the first year that I have 8th and 9th graders in about 10 years and was not sure that I would like it but I have become quite close to them also. I really think that I am going to enjoy having them again as seniors and to get to see them "grow" up. You will always have some students that will challenge you but with only 6 days left, I almost cried in class todaly when one of my big football players came up and hugged me and told me how much he is going to miss me next year.
     
  12. Camel & Walrus

    Camel & Walrus Rookie

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    Apr 22, 2009

    Limited resources and time.
    A big problem.
    Yes.
    Sometimes.

    The region I'm in and the system in place means all the graduate teachers have no choice other than relatively 'bad' schools.

    Tell him to prepare the classroom management - It may be the same for your situation. Rarely have I heard of graduates getting decent positions to start with.
     
  13. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Apr 23, 2009

    In my personal experience, I love high school kids. There are many frustrations in my job, but they have more to do with paper work, administration, etc., probably like teachers at any grade level. It is rarely the kids that get me angry. I have never had any major confrontations or discipline problems in my class.
     
  14. courtneymarie

    courtneymarie Rookie

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    Apr 23, 2009

    ku_alum-This is my first year teaching, so I haven't had a group of kids twice yet, but I'll have my juniors again next year as seniors and that really comforts me. I'm going to miss my seniors so much though!
     
  15. dukdukgoose

    dukdukgoose New Member

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    Apr 17, 2011

    I'm glad I came across this post/! I've taught middle school ranging from 5th -8th for the past 15 years. There's a possibility of me being transferred to the high school to teach junior and senior English. I've been a nervous about the prospect but am thinking it might be a good move! Thanks for sharing!!
     
  16. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Apr 17, 2011

    I started in middle school, and when circumstances took me to the high school and 12th grade, my initial thought was "eww!" By the end of my first semester I absolutely loved them, and I've been teaching seniors ever since. This year for the first time I have a small class of low-level freshmen, and they're driving me crazy because they're still "kids," while most of the seniors are much more mature.
     

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