At times, pre-teens can be a lot to handle. Your students are going through emotional, social, and physical changes so it’s important that you provide a good learning environment. In order to do so, you need to understand and remember the characteristics of these young teens and how to manage them.
In order for young teens to learn, they need to feel that they’re in a safe environment and understand what is expected of them. Establishing rules will create a stable and comfortable environment for students to learn. Some guidelines and expectations are set in the Student Contract: students are expected to attend all the sessions; respect their peers, Instructor, property and equipment; keep track of class materials, and always have access to an emergency contact.
It also helps to understand what pre-teens are going through. This can be a difficult time for them. As growing individuals, pre-teens are often very self-conscious and embarrassed because of their transforming bodies. They seek the approval of their peers and can be afraid to be different than other kids. We recommend that you allow students to sit with their friends unless they begin to disrupt the class, as they will often feel more comfortable and at ease with friends. Young teens are also very self-aware and sometimes feel that consequences don’t apply to them. Help them to understand what could happen if they were faced with an emergency and didn’t know how to respond; this will remind them that the information they are learning is important and useful.
You must also be aware of the fact that they are developing children and, because of this, they have mood swings. Since pre-teens can, at times, feel self-conscious and unsure, they need a role model to help them out-so make sure that you are always being patient and kind with them. When you demonstrate how to be a good role model, students learn how they should behave when they are babysitting. It is critical for you to give your attention to each student when they speak and to provide lots of positive feedback, such as “That’s a great answer” and “You’re absolutely right”. Young teens need the verbal confirmation and acceptance. Don’t be afraid to correct any technical errors; just do it in a gentle manner. Remember, you need to create a safe and stable environment.
Another thing to keep in mind is that young teens need to move around, and this is why the curriculum includes many games and activities. It is perfectly okay for you to take a short break for them to stretch if they look like they are losing interest or becoming restless. And have fun! If you have fun, then they’ll have fun, and if they’re having fun, then they are paying attention.
Overall, it’s very important for you to create a welcoming and stable environment for your students. Try to remember what it was like to be that age and be understanding with the young teens. They’re still at an age where they look up to adults, so try to have a positive impact on their lives with your insight and attitude!
If you’ve taught teens who’ve used their skills to save a life or handle an emergency in the past year, tell us! Fill out a Story Submission Form and we’ll send you a $10 Starbucks gift card.