Intermediate students are a fickle, but rewarding, bunch. They sit, teetering, on the brink of adulthood with so many doors open, and yet, they need your advice and guidance. They can be impulsive and inattentive. They can challenge and criticize. But their views and opinions should serve as a finger on the pulse of your teaching. They can be some of the most honest and transparent people you will ever teach.
They are scribblers, bloggers, and designers that know what they want to do. These students find opportunities to dabble in their gifts and pursue their creative interests – between your lessons and during your diatribes. Make sure you reach them and speak to their curiosities. The single greatest thing you can do to support them is make a connection. Forge a relationship with students that is genuine and demanding. Be their mentor – not their friend.
You need not be challenged by their audacity and selfishness. In fact, you should be inspired by it. These students have felt the creative energy of their gifts and know enough to act on them. Schools are places for learning – not just listening. The academic tasks and projects you set out for them need to connect to their experience and push the limits of their learning.
Help them shine with your passion and prowess. Give them confidence to try new things and powers to reflect on them. Teach your intermediate students the importance of aiming high and living outside of their comfort zone. It will only be when they challenge themselves that they realize just how much they can accomplish.
Don’t be scared or intimidated by intermediate students. They are such an incredibly diverse, and valuable, group of people to teach. They offer gifts and perspectives, not yet jaded by the world, and it should be your goal to guide them using whatever learning tools necessary.
Share a story that showed you just how rewarding teaching intermediate students can be.
During Neilʼs 9 years of teaching experience, he has taught in London, England; Ontario; public and private schools; elementary and secondary; junior; intermediate; core french; developmental skills; and now junior gifted (grades 4,5,6). He is a Reading Specialist that has been incorporating technology in his practice consistently throughout his career. Neil has recently published his first book entitled “Ignite. Incite. Inspire.” – Examining 21st Century Issues in Education, which is a collection of teaching articles and posts written from January to December 2011.