High School Today
I am a high school teacher, but sometimes I don’t really understand what is going on with high school students. This is High School is a Canadian documentary series following high school students, teachers, and administrators during the school year at a public high school in Kamloops, BC. Installing 50 remote controlled cameras, producers kept them on for eight weeks. This documentary is especially interesting for me, as a high school teacher, to see what other teachers and administrators are doing as well as the students they are working with.
Grade 9 is the Worst Year
The first episode of this season focuses on students in grade 9, and the challenges of this very “special” time. For whatever reason, grade 9 seems to be one of the most challenging times for both students and teachers (I am currently experiencing this first hand.)
It is eye-opening to see from a student’s perspective how social media can seem to make typical adolescent trouble even worse. Instead of someone passing a note to someone in class, with texting and phones in everyone’s hand, one mean comment can spread like wildfire. Two girls coping with growing apart during the changes of high school get caught up in rumour spreading, which resulted in one girl crying, leaving school, and staying home for several days. Often as teachers I think we get caught up in academic success, and don’t empathize enough in the day-to-day sensitivities of student life. It’s tough!
Good Ideas for Bad Behaviour
What I was most impressed by, was the effectiveness of team-based strategy for behavioral problems. When a student was struggling to behave in class, and frequent detentions were no longer working, the vice principal and rugby coach decided to make a deal with the student. If he was able to stay out of detention for 3 days, he would be allowed to run drills for the rugby team. Finding a constructive way to give attention to attention seeking kids was very effective in this case, and definitely something I will start thinking about with behavioral challenges.
As teachers, we spend most of our time in our classroom with the door closed. Series like this are eye opening for both teachers, parents, and anyone interested in the current state of education and adolescence.