(Originally posted 8/29/10)
NEVER DRAWING A LINE
Teenagers may want to be treated as adults…but they do not want to be THE adult. They want us to be the adult.
They will test us. They will push our buttons. They want to know exactly what the limits are and how far they can go…for reasons too numerous to mention here. That is how they are wired.
However, in the mind of a teen, a REAL adult,…..an adult they can count on, look up to, lean on and learn from…knows where the boundaries are and isn’t afraid to enforce them. They find it very hard to trust, or respect, someone who doesn’t.
If we know ourselves as adults, as teachers, we will know what our boundaries are. We will know what we will tolerate, what we will accept, what we will encourage….and what we won’t. Our students know that about us…even if we don’t. Remember the adage: What you allow, you encourage.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strategically pick your battles. Drawing a line in the sand for everything will just leave you spinning around in circles erasing your own lines with your footprints.
Remember that students may have nine teachers, several coaches and a complicated assortment of parental figures ….each with his/her own set of boundaries to deal with.
So think about your boundaries. Figure out the essential ones. Communicate what is really important ahead of time. Communicate everything else as needed. Stand firmly when necessary.
For yourself. For your students.
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