If you look at the most effective, talented teachers, I imagine many strong, compassionate qualities come to mind. I also imagine that descriptions like “impatient”, “dismissive”, and “close-minded” are the opposite of what you might imagine defining a great mentor. So then, when faced with a classroom of young people going through the strangest, most turbulent times of their lives, how do teachers find the patience they need to do their jobs well?
My guess would be educated empathy.
You see, teens have a lot of stereotypes working against them. There are endless expectations that they have to fight against to feel that their own personhood is properly recognized. But then, there are kids that do act impulsively, hurtfully, or destructively. Regardless of whether they’re acting out or not, the teenage brain provides the same resources for each child. Knowing the basic brain science behind the teenage mind is a fantastic first step to understanding how to work with these quirks instead of against them.
This helpful article from karsforkidz is quite accessible and tactful in explaining teenage brain anomalies. It provides a great base knowledge to justify some of the hang-ups of the teenage experience. That’s right- the confusing sleep cycles, intensity of emotion, and odd problem-solving approach exercised by teenagers are all related to the same unique brain properties. It turns out that the amount of gray matter in the teenage brain makes them beyond unique. Go ahead and check out the blog post so you can take the first steps toward being the patient, empathetic influence your teenager needs you to be.