I have come to a realization.
An earth shattering revelation.
I have discovered the source of almost all challenges encountered while working with junior high students (or probably any student for that matter).
Are you ready for this?
The problem is that I think like an adult. That’s right. It seems so simple, yet it is profound. I apply my life experiences, knowledge, as well as a healthy dose of logic and reasoning to the problems I face…and in many cases, I expect students to do the same.
So why doesn’t that happen? Why don’t students think more like me (or us)?
Hmm. It must be because they are not adults. Students are still in the process of experiencing life, discovering options, analyzing problems and defining logic. That’s what kids do. And they make mistakes…and hopefully learn.
How do we begin to close this adult/kid communication gap?
By reconnecting with our inner kid.
Be honest. Can you remember when:
- You didn’t do your homework, but managed to watch the latest episode of the Dukes of Hazard (or A-Team)?
- You were more concerned about what other kids thought of your knock-off Polo shirt than your math teacher’s lesson?
- The latest social crisis sent the world crashing in around you – obliterating an already limited attention span?
- Passing notes in class was all the rage (but, of course, you would never have sent text messages)?
- School wasn’t a priority?
I would be willing to bet that all of us can relate to one or more of those statements, and guess what? So can our students.
If you want to be successful working with kids, you have to stop thinking like an adult all of the time and start thinking like a kid. Remember what it was like when you were their age. Don’t assume that your priorities are the same as theirs (or that they should be). Don’t talk down to them, coach them up. Empathize. Guide. Mentor. Connect.
Be an adult in action and a kid at heart.
So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us. ~ Gaston Bachelard