“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own” — Nikos Kazantzakis
Of all the hard jobs around, one of the hardest jobs is being a “Teacher”. Yes, being a teacher is a very tough job because the teachers deal with different types of students and their behaviours with patience by supporting and helping them to achieve success. Let us all thank our great teachers because they made us what we are today by sharing their knowledge and guiding us in the right direction by providing their support.
“We honestly believe that people go into teaching because they want to make a difference in student’s lives”— Mira Halpert & Mark Halpert
Amongst all the age groups, teaching to and dealing with the teenagers is very hard because they are the adolescents. Adolescence is neither childhood nor adulthood because of which the students at this age group, i.e., 13 to 17 years are confused about their role and identity. They want to fit in this society or group, want to create their own identity by being independent while exploring the new things which can be both negative and positive effecting their behaviours. The College faculty and staff most of the times face different types of student behaviours such as being too sensitive, inconsistent daily work, fighting with others, arguments, being very aggressive, blaming others, destroying the objects, punching the walls etc., which is a challenging task for the staff that examines their ability to uphold an active and safe learning environment while dealing with them.
“The best teachers are those who show their students where to look but don’t tell them what to see” – Alexandra K. Trenfor
The following are the different types of problems that the staff observe amongst the adolescent students:
1. Physical changes
Due to the changes in the levels of hormones physical changes take place amongst adolescents. Most of the adolescents were not aware of what they are undergoing. So, try to create awareness about it which helps them to deal with their physical problems.
2. Emotional changes and problems
Most of us have this myth that hormones affect only physically, but the fact is it also affects emotionally. They are very emotional, anything and everything can make them feel happy, excited, mad or angry, mood swings, etc. Adolescence can be an emotional roller-coaster which is normal.
Tips to deal with these emotional problems of adolescence:
• Tell the students that they should take care of themselves and empathise them by saying that it’s okay to feel the way they are feeling.
• As the physical activity increases the serotonin levels which create good feelings and happiness amongst individuals, encourage them to have some physical activities such as brisk walking, climbing stairs, running etc.
• Listen to them without judging them and avoid advising as most of the adolescents will not be ready for it.
• Their emotions can be channelised if you help them to be involved in any creative activities.
3. Behavioural changes
Irresistible emotions can lead to the behaviours that are impulsive, which can be harmful to the student as well as others. In adolescence, the students develop their independence which can rise to question the rules set by the staff by arguing with the staff, and the students think that what they believe is right which can be their stubbornness. Some of the behaviour changes include risk-taking behaviours resulting in careless behaviours, peer pressure leading to develop certain habits which cannot be changed just to fit in a group, adapting to risky lifestyle by hanging out with other students who are unusual, lying or blaming others to avoid conflicts with the staff or out of fear.
Tips to deal with these Behavioural problems of adolescence:
• Behavioural problems amongst adolescents is a passing phase and are entirely normal although it is difficult to cope.
• Building trust is essential if you want to help students with behavioural issues. Communicate with the students and listen carefully to what they are sharing with you without judging them or criticising them which can worsen their behaviour even more.
• Sharing your own experiences of how you dealt with yourself to overcome when you feel sad, angry, jealous etc., helps the students to understand and they might try those solutions to come out of his/her emotional problems if they think that might help them.
4. Psychological problems
Some of the psychological problems includes low self-esteem or low confidence, feelings of inferiority or superiority, poor performance in academics and low IQ leading to demotivation, feeling upset, stress, overly moody, change in their sleeping patterns, change in their eating patterns, avoid talking to people and be alone in their room, not showing interest in their daily routine, frequently forgetting everything, etc.
Tips to deal with these Psychological problems of adolescence:
• Amongst the adolescents, moodiness and temper tantrums are normal, but it might not be the same sometimes. These symptoms should be observed carefully which is not that easy but, if you observe make sure you talk to the student separately and listen to them carefully while giving your support without your assumptions.
• Try talking about maintaining a healthy lifestyle to the students which can help them to be mentally strong by reducing the levels of stress and increase their well-being.
• If you observe any student who is overly moody only in certain situations, try to communicate with his/her friends and parents to know if they are behaving in the same manner with them or not. If they are, please give your support and try to help the student by talking to them, listening to them carefully without judging them, and empathise with them by looking at their problem from their perspective and try to understand the student without giving suggestions to them.
• See that the students walk towards you and share their problems for which you need to build that trust and you need to communicate with the students by informing them that the information shared by them will not be shared with anyone except the mental health professional (Psychologist) to help them and support them.
When you observe these kinds of unusual behaviours, make sure that you are interacting with them separately and try to give your support to the students in dealing with such behaviours to help them out.
How do you help/support students to cope up with these behaviours/changes?
You might not solve their problems or change their behaviours completely but, you can always help the students giving your support. If the behaviour continues then try to take help from the mental health professional (Psychologist) if you feel that the student needs more support or help. Help them by giving this helpline number 18004191828 of DISHA.
Here are the few tips, when you deal with the students:
• While talking to the student see that you are sitting facing each other on the same side of the table.
• Maintain eye contact so that the student feels that you are interested in talking to him/her.
• Listen and understand what the students are going through without judging them.
• Convey support and empathy to the students (Ex. Empathy can be shown through statements such as “that must be hard”, “that sounds really challenging”, “I can see how that would be difficult”, etc., when you empathise the empathetic statements should be phrased based upon the situation of the student)
“Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students.” — Charles Kuralt
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” – Ignacio Estrada