In the first and second part of this article I wrote about teenagers' growing need to focus on peer relationships and to challenge authority, and discussed ways that this affects teaching. This final entry discusses the phenomenon of teenage awkwardness, and how to be sensitive to it in the language classroom, as well as presenting a few conclusions.
In my last entry I wrote about how teenagers naturally have a strong focus on peer relationships, and the effect this can have on class dynamics, and on my teaching. In this entry, I'd like to consider another teenage stereotype - the grumpy rebel - and reflect on the surprising benefits of this difficult aspect of adolescence, and suggest ways to keep your cool when faced with it.
This summer, I’ve had moments where a few of the teenagers I’ve been teaching have really got under my skin, and other moments where they've really inspired me. I’d forgotten how different it is to teach a whole group of 16-18-year-olds, compared to one 17-year-old in a class of 20-somethings. I’ve been reflecting on why these differences exist, and how to deal with them, in terms of what’s going on both in their heads and in mine.