There is a stark contrast in teaching kids versus tutoring adolescents. Kids long for attachment and seek a safe haven from their parents and teachers. Contrary to that, adolescents wish to detach from the feeling of being dependent and wish to develop their separate identities. Not giving them enough freedom to go out or make choices irks teenagers.
As a teacher, you may have heard your colleagues say that they are tired of teaching middle schoolers. But, even though it is challenging, you can succeed if you have a proper plan in hand. Remember that adolescents have not yet developed the power to control their emotions and make choices. If you can build some strategies to set yourself as their role model, you might make the task of managing adolescents much easier.
Here are 10 successful tried-and-tested strategies to manage malleable middle schoolers easily inside and outside the classroom.
1. Book classes through an online scheduling system
Organizing classes according to the daily schedule is the most vital administrative task taken up by an educator. It is also tricky to balance such tasks with daily lessons. Therefore, you can automate scheduling by signing up and creating an account on Picktime. It is an online appointment scheduler, accessible via any internet-based device. You just have to use the free online calendar to display your real-time availability and create classes to add all your students. Make the students responsible for self-scheduling classes based on their preferred time. Simplify bookings by crafting an online booking page customized with a booking button. Make this page available on your school's website to accept more online bookings.
Picktime is a cloud-based scheduling app that securely stores your student's booking history and contact information. You can also send automated email and SMS class reminders to students to reduce problems of low attendance. Accept monthly fees through credit cards and online payment gateways such as PayPal, and Stripe. Check daily attendance reflected on insightful class performance reports available via your Picktime dashboard.
2. Greet students with a smile
Attending classes early in the morning might irritate middle schoolers because they generally sleep late at night. Try to lighten their mood. In the beginning, you should greet your students at the door with a smile and ask them about how they are doing. Engage them in small yet meaningful talks to bring back their learning mindset. Make eye contact with them, say their names individually, and wish them a good morning.
3. Begin classes with an activity
Instead of jumping straight into the lesson, begin your classes with a fun activity. Select a topic that necessitates your students to think deeply about it and then write their understanding of it. It is a great exercise to enhance an adolescent's comprehensive and cognitive skills compared to straightforward questioning.
4. Grab attention with words
Catch your student's attention with verbal interventions like, "All eyes on me", "I want you to look at me in 3, 2, 1....", and so on. It will alert your students, and they can then settle down in no time.
5. Stop disturbances with non-verbal cues
Constant chatter during a lesson might be the most vexing experience for a teacher. However, it is hard to bring back the flow of the lesson once it breaks. So, you can use non-verbal cues like shaking your head or making eye contact with the student to stop them from disturbing the class.
6. Anonymously point out bad behavior
If you notice any student improperly behaving in the class, do not call them out and embarrass them publicly. Teenagers get defensive when you hurt their ego. You should call them out anonymously with words like "I can hear some side chatter. Can I please have your attention for the next few moments?".
7. Allow students to choose their assignments
Let middle schoolers choose their projects and assignments based on their capacity. Middle schoolers have a lot to handle- classes, projects, emotional ups and downs, and friendships. Instead of enforcing a project on them, give them various options and ask them to choose from those options.
8. Organize extra-curricular and sports competitions
Involve your students in co-curricular activities and sports. Tell them the importance of maintaining physical and mental well-being during adolescence. Collaborate with the school teachers to organize weekly competitions and publicly appreciate the participants. It will boost their morale.
9. Hold meetings for student’s feedback
Interview your students to get quick feedback on your classes. You can divide students into groups of 5 and interview each group for 15 minutes. Ask questions about what they like/dislike about your teaching, their expectations, and any new method to try to improve the learning experience.
10. Stop complaining to parents
Adolescents should learn to fix their issues themselves. Stop involving parents in every minor issue. If you complain about a student to their parents, he/she might lose their freedom at home and get depressed.
Without waiting any further, take action following these listed strategies to determine what works best for your classroom and reflect on those methods.