What is the most important quality for a teacher of teenage students?

TeAch-nology.com's Teacher Poll of the Week
What is the most important quality for a teacher of teenage students?
A sense of humor.
A passion for teaching.
Sensitivity to teenage issues.

View Results

Every quality mentioned in this poll is important for a teacher of teenage students to possess, however, the one ranked most important was to have a sense of humour. Being able to laugh at oneself and the world around us is vital when spending so much time with moody, restless teens.

Teenagers are a bundle of hormones and emotions. There are not a lot of middle-of-the-road days with teens. They are giddy, sullen, dark, hyper, sensitive, insensitive, self-absorbed, and moody - and this is all in the same day! Teenagers face a lot of physical and emotional changes and this can be difficult for many of them. Coping with the stress of school, peers and home can lead to some pretty emotional outbursts, but it passes with time.

Dealing with these ups and downs is a day to day experience for teachers of teenage students. In turns, teachers may need to be sensitive, patient or empathetic depending on the student and the situation. Throughout it all, keeping a sense of humour is vital. Humour helps teachers cope with otherwise stressful situations and keep from getting overwhelmed or burned out. A sense of humour also helps the students to see the funny side of things when they are taking life a little too seriously. Being able to laugh at oneself is also important for teachers. Teenagers are often not the most understanding or forgiving individuals so if a teacher makes a mistake or misspeak in class, it's a certain bet that the students will crack a joke about it.

Being able to laugh it off will help the moment to pass quickly. Reacting is a serious manner just gives teenagers more ammunition for continued jibing, whether in class or behind the teacher's back.

Finally, looking at some of the situations that teenagers consider important can be cause for humour. Remembering how it felt to think like a teenager is bound to bring a smile to most teachers' faces. Not having the latest gadget or the trendy ball cap that it seems every other student possesses is a big deal for teenagers. Being able to take these exaggerated reactions in stride and see the humour in them can help teachers cope with the hormonal creatures that are teenagers.