Working with American teens made me think about useful tips I can share with new teachers.
The culture I found myself in is a mix of Latino and African-American youth with a minority of whites and Asians. Just for your information I came from Ukraine where the population is very homogeneous.
The school environment is not usually conducive to making friends with students but I keep trying anyway.
- Listen to their music. God only knows how much I hate rap but this is what they love. I make myself listen to the lyrics, it’s quite weird for strangers like me.
- Eat their food. Teens love junk food, it never looks or tastes great. But you should be brave enough to try it. I also go to cafeteria once in a while to experience the agony they have to endure every day.
- Don’t ignore the things that matter. Two of them are mentioned above but figuring out the rest can be tough. One thing that I noticed is you have to pronounce their name right.
- Ask questions showing genuine interest. When doing this you should be ready to deal with their answers which are not always easy. Reflect on them.
- Be a good student. Take notes to remember new words and concepts, learning new language / dialect is always fun. You will be tried and tested a lot.
- Mind your body language more than anything else. Respect yourself and the people around you.
- Stay positive and keep learning despite making mistakes.
This list is not all encompassing but gives you a general idea. Good luck!