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Tips for dealing with secondary school children

(11 Posts)
GingerPuddin Thu 11-Jun-15 21:13:18

I'm starting a new job as the school librarian in a secondary school in a couple of weeks. I've worked In librRies for years but at the university level. I've never dealt with this age group and im a bit nervous about it. The school is in a roughish area and I know a lot of the kids are from a poor back ground. Any tips or advice about working with this age group?

soundedbetterinmyhead Thu 11-Jun-15 21:22:25

I love working with teenagers - it sounds like I'm in a similar sort of school in a non-teaching role. Just some thoughts...

1) be genuinely interested in them, but don't ask them questions about where they have been or what they've been doing. This is what the police do and some children are immediately on the defensive when all you've asked is what they're up to at the weekend!

2) Be enthusiastic about your library and really listen to what they want in it

3) Don't gossip about them in the staffroom - they will find out and lose respect for you and lastly

4) give them the benefit of the doubt. Teenagers do really dozy stuff sometimes but can be back to sanity the next hour. You can afford to be nice to them - show them that it's OK to make mistakes.

Hope you enjoy it!

Ferguson Thu 11-Jun-15 22:53:33

I was a primary TA for ten years, then had two years in a tough comprehensive.

I was worried at first, and en-mass they seem a bit threatening, but they are still only KIDS, just bigger, louder and stronger.

Yes, I agree with all 'sounded's' advice; show them respect, but be strict when necessary. Some teenagers may not have had good primary experiences, and also may have problems at home, so can use some discreet TLC.

Haggisfish Thu 11-Jun-15 23:00:03

Definitely agree with be genuinely interested in them. Don't be afraid to talk to them about yourself, too. I have heard a response of 'mind your own business' when a student was making polite small talk with a teacher and asked them about their children. It made me quite sad.

GingerPuddin Fri 12-Jun-15 13:55:54

Thanks. Are there any good books about behaviour management strategies? Or dealing with teens?

teacher54321 Sat 13-Jun-15 08:35:01

There's a book called 'getting the buggers to behave' which someone gave me when I started my PGCE, can't remember if it was particularly useful but I've seen it recommended before. I currently teach prep but am starting a new job in sept where I'll be teaching 3-16 which I'm looking forward to as I miss the older ones!

Don't be timid, irrational or unpredictable. Teenagers like structure and like knowing where they are with someone. Don't be afraid to ask for support from pastoral staff of you need it.

Teenagers, even the naughty ones, are awesome smile

Chimchar Sat 13-Jun-15 08:45:04

It sounds like a lovely job!

I work with teens with behavioural difficulties.(yours shouldn't be as difficult)
One thing we as staff say is 'always be the adult' and always offer a get out without the kid having to lose face.

Its about wording things carefully...so instead of saying 'if you don't put that book back now, there will be trouble!'
say 'it would be great if you could pop that book back over there for me...thanks so much'

that kind of thing.

Include them. Ask them what they like about the library, and what they don't. Ask them about what they like to read, or what hobbies they have and get in a few specialist magazines...motorbikes, climbing, fashion, gaming ones etc.

Do what you can to encourage an interest in books in general...my ds school has a lunchtime club where the kids get sweets for sitting in the library chatting about what they like about a certain book cover, or writing a haiku and that kind of thing. Many of the kids in my school have never been read to, and have very low self esteem, especially with regards to their reading.

good luck!

MrsUltracrepidarian Sat 13-Jun-15 16:54:26

Get them to do small, quick, effortless jobs (ie , please could you push that book in for me grin) then thank them for it - it will make them respect the library more if they have helped out, and they love praise as long as simple thanks and not over the top - you will soon build up a team of enthusiastic helpers, and word will spread so they become themselves the policemen of the library, making your job easier.
(Have not worked in a library, but as a supply teacher this technique makes my job vastly easier each time I see those pupils again!)
If they do something daft one day, once they have been sanctioned, it is finished, not carried over to the next day. Always resolve anything on the same day.

StrumpersPlunkett Sat 13-Jun-15 17:42:19

Can o just say I have nothing to do with teenagers yet. My boys are younger however you all sound brilliant I i would love it if they came into contact with you all as they negotiate their path to adulthood.

Haggisfish Sat 13-Jun-15 18:20:22

Give them choices rather than demands. So 'would you like to leave the library now or in five minutes?' Are you going to leave now or shall I call the duty supervisor? This is worst case scenario, obviously. I love teaching teenagers and find they generally treat support staff with respect and good manners. Lots of hhem like creative writing and we have an ace reading group.

BoffinMum Tue 16-Jun-15 20:24:49

If the books start getting nicked that can actually be a good sign, as you have managed to promote reading, so perhaps allow for 'wastage'.

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