Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mean Girls, OMG Moments, and Kids Who Don't Shower

"That's why her hair is so big.  It's full of secrets."  "She's fabulous... but she's evil." High school mentality, at its finest... Mean Girls.  High school is full of them, and popular movies depict them well.  They're conniving, diabolical, and ruthless... but they're also smart, creative, and goal-oriented.  Even if their goals are making someone else's life Hell, or buying the latest handbag.  In a class discussion a few days ago, a fellow SRU student made the comment that a character in the assigned novel was "every girl I hated in high school."  This comment stuck with me for days, and all I can say is, as future teachers, we have to be ready.  We have to be ready for the incessant babble about boys, the "OMG, no she didn't," and the "I know, right?" moments.  We have to be ready for the sex crazed hormones, the obsession over texting, and the insult that comes with no one liking someone else's Facebook status.  We have to be ready for the kids who don't shower, the jocks who don't want to read, the kids who can't afford a notebook, and, yes, the girls you hated in high schoolWe're going to be teaching all of them.  You can't pick and choose the kids that enter your classroom- it's our job to teach them all.  Regardless of who YOU were in high school, we're all going to be the same thing.  We, comprised of jocks, nerds, wallflowers, socialites, band geeks, and Comic Book fiends, are now on the other side.  You may have "hated" high school... but you signed up to go back.  You won't only have AP kids who all love to read.  You won't have all poor kids who grew up just like you... and you have to be ready.  You're going to be their teacher.


  1. I totally agree that you will have all types of students...and sometimes it can be frustrating because you like a certain type, but, UH OH, you have a bunch of students you don't think you can identify with.

    One remedy I had to this was to try my best to create a class environment where all students can succeed. i was fortunate enough to have tables in my classroom, so I had about 7 groups throughout the room. I spent the first few days in a circle doing "get to know you" activities. I also videotaped each student telling me where they were from and what their grade level was. (just like I did in your class.)

    The video and the time in the circle enabled me to start to get to know students. I saw who was friends and immediately separated them. I tried my best to mix the class up. (Wallflowers next to the more social, jocks next to the artsy kids, etc.) While you may have the traditional rows, you can still do this by spacing the "like students" apart. You can also do this when you do groupwork.

    One of the highest compliments I was ever paid was at the end of the year. My students were incessantly talking and I displayed some frustration. One of my students said "it's your fault, made us all friends."

    so my main point is to mix the students up as much as you can. i almost never let my high school students pick groups during the first half of the year. afterall, not only are you working with a variety of students, but they are working with a variety too.

  2. Loved this...this is so true. I constantly find myself worried for some of the individuals in our major who are in fact still stuck in high school and continue to label their peers although they're in college. I ask myself how are they going to be successful teachers if they can't transition themselves from the high school student to the high school teacher. Although favorites are inevitable at times, I definitely hope that future teachers can put stereotypes aside and focus on the student and not his or her appearance or so forth.

  3. Oh no, I can't say that this doesn't worry me just a bit! I was that girl who hadn't ever read a book until I came to college, so I know I will have students just like myself. Because I understand how it is, I am constantly thinking about how to get students interested in reading. The only conclusion I've come to is that there is not one single method that would apply to all. I think the most important part is doing your best to find what works for each individual student, although it definitely is not an easy task!