You would probably agree with me that teenagers are a quite challenging lot to handle. It’s the time in a person’s life when they are trying to figure out who they are, resisting and fighting against the accepted, trying to challenge everybody and everything and driving adults crazy. Luckily, you have just a couple at home. Imagine how this might look like for the teachers, having to deal with all the ups and downs of more than 15 teenagers at once? Hard, isn’t it? Well, welcome to the teachers’ daily routine.
This being said, it is very important that we as teachers can make the most out of the situation, motivate our teenage students to learn and manage the lesson flow all at the same time.
Let’s look at some ideas that can make you an ideal teacher for teenagers and how they see you in their own eyes.
- Professional and prepared
As long as your students will be trying to challenge you most of the time in most parts of the lesson, it is vital to be well-prepared, know the subject matter very well and be ready to provide proper guidance and explanation with every step of the way. Otherwise, students will lose trust in you and you as a result will lose authority over them leading to a complete failure of the lesson.
- Creative and ready to learn
As time goes, things change and nothing is the same as before. Apart from being a very good professional in your field and able to deliver productive sessions, you also want to give a push to your creativity if you want your sessions to be interesting and engaging. It’s very easy to lose the interest of the audience if all your sessions follow the same routine.
This is especially true for teenage learners as they are looking for colourful, different challenges every day. To have them engaged, use your creativity to design different types of tasks and exercises, use different tools available on the web to make your activities more fun and entertaining. Learning and growing simultaneously with the century is crucial if you want to stay ‘valid’.
- Trustworthy and reliable
If you want to build healthy relations with your students you need to show them that you deserve their trust, meaning they can open up and feel confident in their skin and are reliable, meaning that they rely on you to support them and guide them through when needed. They might not tell you directly how much they trust you and enjoy your company, but you will feel it in their behaviour, language, comments, etc.
Your students need to know that you are a person they can open up to and communicate without being afraid of being judged and/or frowned upon.
- Fair and consistent
At this age, teenagers tend to compete a lot. They try to show who is better, who is smarter, who is the coolest, etc. This may be expressed in a variety of ways. They might fight and expect you to resolve the conflict in the favour, they might fail the assignment and feel that they need to act out to cover it up, etc.
Teaching your class that you are fair in your judgement and proving the reasons for your decisions is the best way to show them that they will be judged justly no matter what. This should be consistent so that they don’t feel that your fairness is subject to subjectivity at times.
- Respectful and honest
You should also remember that teenagers are not kids and they already have a developed self-consciousness and borders you shouldn’t cross. If you want to continue building healthy relations with your students, make sure you respect those boundaries and don’t try to push them around too much if it is not related to their studies and/or behaviour within the school premises in general. Respect their privacy, as they are grown enough to make some of their own decisions.
Honesty is another important aspect in maintaining good relations. Don’t overdo it. Make sure your students know what your interests are, what you like and dislike in general, whether you are interested in what they are saying or not. Otherwise, you are risking losing their trust, as they can feel when you are ‘acting’ very quickly. All in all, you are a person as well and should try to show it to the students as well.
- Fun and brave
Another interesting thing that we teachers hate is probably appearing incompetent in the eyes of our students. This can happen when we don’t know how to use this or that technology, when we honestly don’t know the answer to a question, when we are stuck and need a minute to gather our mind, etc.
Interestingly, if you let go, not only you will feel much better and more relaxed, but also your students will be able to see that you are a normal human being and can make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses, they will enjoy helping you out and will become closer to you, leading to conducting more productive and stress-free sessions.
Well, here are some things we think are important to know if you are teaching that target group of teenagers. What else do you think can be added to the list when reflecting back on your own experience?
Speaking activities are, obviously, essential for English language speaking classes. A lot of students join classes particularly to develop their communicative competence, become more fluent, versatile, adaptable, and confident communicators in English. However, designing speaking activities might be time-consuming and nerve-wracking for any teacher. We have prepared a memo with superb ready-made speaking tasks that will make your student talking. Download it here.