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    hard to deal with kids
    By Cathy-Dee

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    High School is an age group I could never teach myself, but I have witnessed other colleagues and some of the classes they have had. And it's still not too far back for me to remember my high school days.

    First, they are at an age where peer pressure is at an all time high. Students who might normally be nice, etc., will follow the ring leaders just to fit in.

    Second, you are in control and they are not. Repeat that to yourself everyday before class starts, during class and after class. How you handle yourself and their outbursts will make a huge difference in the next month or two. Being a first year teacher you are probably more nervous than you even realize and kid's will pick up on that. Chances are they have had other new teachers in the past or their siblings or friends have and they have made those teachers cry. I know when I was in High School there was one new teacher (a male teacher) who was very sensitive and the kid's just knew it. I wasn't in his classes, but I heard in the hallways all the things they were doing to get his emotions going.
    So the next time they say something rude like you have bad breath - don't get flustered, say something back like, - really, guess I need to find a better mouthwash - who here uses mouthwash, what do you think is a good brand? You take the negative comment, turn it around and back at them in a way that they don't realize what has even happened. If you trip over something, laugh at yourself and continue. It's the same rule I teach all my younger students - if you don't let them see you react negatively, the game is no longer fun to play.

    Third - why do they not like the class - is this typical or expected. I remember hating to have to take French in school or typing for that matter. I thought the classes were very boring. And some classes you just knew were going to be boring because everyone said they were (peer pressure again). And for some it is also that the material is difficult for them to learn. Students who are struggling will often act out just to take the focus off the fact that they cannot do the work. Thus your boy who is repeating the class has found a great way to take the negativity of being a repeater off of him by focusing all the classes energy on disrupting the class.
    - talk to other teachers who teach or have taught this course - what do they see as problems, solutions, etc.,
    - what are things you can do liven up the class -learning spanish pop songs for example
    - or get a menu from a restaurant where Spanish is spoken, learn all the words, etc., and have a field trip there one week where the kid's order in Spanish.
    - or bring in some guests who speak Spanish - a sports player or someone who the kid's will relate too.
    - make the class a highlight of their day
    - relax and start to have fun with what you are doing - don't worry about what the kid's are thinking - if they see you relaxed and not responding to their negative behaviours, those behaviours will lose their effectiveness.

    Keep us posted with how things are going.

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