Teaching Teenagers

Today was a good day. Yes, not all of it was easy, but I came through much better than in the past. It felt like such a victory to be able to deal with a hard situation and not come out crushed by it. In fact, I felt encouraged. I felt like celebrating the good day.

In the past people have made statements to me such as: “I wouldn’t want to teach the upper grades and have to deal with all the attitudes.” I always assured them that in my small class I had good students and didn’t have too much trouble with adolescent/teenage attitudes.

Enter year 2016-2017 with nine students and six grades. The first weeks went pretty smoothly. I felt the Lord had answered the prayers I had been praying all summer. Then someone flipped a switch. Now I’m dealing with teenagers who question everything I ask of them and push me to the limit. Some days I cry out to God, “God, I’m only 24. I don’t have the wisdom and experience to handle these teenagers!” I cry out for wisdom and guidance because I don’t know how to get through to them and help them understand WHY they need to do what they need to do.

Although today was a good day, it was a day that left my mind rolling and boiling. Did I handle the situation the correct way? Could I have said something that would have been more effective? Did I get through to the student? What is tomorrow going to be like? Did we get to the bottom of the problem or is it going to keep surfacing?

I don’t have the answers to all these questions.  But I was encouraged by the strength I felt from God to handle this situation. I was able to come out still on top, not buried under the problem. That in itself is huge!

I was also encouraged last week when my students voluntarily did something they had made a huge fuss about a few days before. It showed me that even though sometimes I may feel like I am getting nowhere, something is actually getting through to my students. It felt like I had won a battle. And when another student played recess without complaining today, I was so proud of him! It makes me so happy when my students choose to do the right thing!  

My prayer is that I would have wisdom and patience to be the teacher my students need to help them grow. Only by God’s strength can I carry on. Praising Him for his strength this week!

 

P.S. I now understand why my 7th and 8th grade teacher felt overwhelmed with 30 students! (We definitely weren’t good little angels!) I have my hands full with 9 students! (Things look a bit different when you are on the teaching end of it. Winking smile)

 

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2 thoughts on “Teaching Teenagers

  1. andreaskrivseth

    This is great, Rachel… I don’t have upper grades, but I so know those questions… I often wonder how teachers who don’t know Jesus handle all those situations without losing it… I know if I didn’t have my Lord, I would not be teaching! =) Blessings to your as you grow those youngin’s. =)

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  2. I remember those hard days teaching teens as a 27-year old. I hope you have a very supportive team; so much wisdom and understanding is only won through experience. Always remember to show students respect and try to stay tender toward them while protecting your own heart. I’m sure you’ve heard “Don’t take anything personally,” and it’s true (though kind of impossible at the same time). Someone told me before I started my first job that a reasonable goal was to survive to be a second year teacher (or third, depending on which year you’re on). I would add, “Do no harm.” You’ll be amazed at how much progress you’ll make in a few years.

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