It’s strange how much my classroom culture changes based on the students who come in. I guess it seems pretty obvious – new students, new personality, but what surprises me is how much I change based on the personality of my students. A few weeks ago, I was able to joke around with my middle school students – creating lame rules like “Math Monday – a day where every student is required to enjoy math” and my students would laugh and play along. With my students now, “Math Monday” would probably get little more attention than a raised eyebrow. A few weeks ago, I could motivate my students with humor, this week, the motivation comes from competition, and telling them they need to earn as many points as possible.
High School is a totally different story – the changes in personality are not so extreme. They all want to be treated like adults, they all seem to be struggling with an internal fight against the child inside and the adult they want to be. The students this week are more art orientated, so during Service Learning they are more eager to help create posters than in previous weeks, but when you get the students talking, you realize that high school students are all searching for direction in some way. It may not be the direction we hope they take, but they all look for guidance. Most would never admit it, and you have to be sneaky in how you go about giving them guidance, but once you know what type of direction they respond to, most are willing to listen.