High school teachers are in a unique position to help young adults develop life changing habits, gain access to a variety of educational opportunities, and build communication skills that will help them succeed in the future.
Many schools are often put into questionable positions regarding state testing standards, limitations in curriculum choices, and satisfying parents. Testing ensures that students are learning the given curriculum, but it can also prevent teachers from fully expanding on school subjects. When faced with teaching creationism in a science class, many teachers are conflicted or are not allowed to voice opinions on science versus faith based creation theories. Parents, who have diverse educational goals for their children, may not agree with public school instruction and hold the teacher responsible.
Even with hurdles that teacher face, there is still a tremendous opening to guide high school students. Children in this age group are walking a line between being dependent on their parents, and moving forward to independence as young adults. They still rely on adults to address their questions about college, their first job, which subject to major in when they go to university. These concerns weigh heavily on high school students.
Teens are faced with daily topics of concern as well. Relationships, obtaining their first job, home stress, friends, and making personal health decisions are constantly on their mind. Very few people would agree that it is easy being a high school student. From every side there is enormous pressure to achieve set standards, conform socially, and succeed academically. High school teachers provide a sounding board for these students.
How a teacher goes about successfully educating their students is largely dependent on their ability to be creative, maintain an open dialogue, and remain respectful when addressing teens. Most teenagers agree that they expect to be spoken to like a young adult, and not pandered to as if they are young children. From an early age, kids develop a safety net and enjoy gaining control over their environment. During the high school years, they are able to start acting more independently, and obtaining that direct control over their environment.
Students tend to retain information, achieve higher test scores, and pay closer attention in classes where they feel supported, encouraged, and respected. This is a critical age for students who may feel insecure about their future, and the decisions they face. High school teachers can create this type of environment for their students while still adhering to school policies, state testing standards, and teaching the given curriculum. A caring teacher can be a memorable role-model for years to come.
Finally, high school teachers should always keep the door of communication open to parents. Parents of students, at any age, must view school as a supplement to education and not a complete approach to learning. Many skills, and lessons, still need to be taught, and reinforced at home. Teachers should encourage parents to continue developing the educational field by actively engaging their children in a variety of learning opportunities.