Some Perks of Teaching High Schoolers

I am a teacher of English Language and Literature at the high school level. I have been blessed to engaged in this act of service for 18 years so far. I really enjoy interacting with students in this age group and getting them ready for their next steps in life. Of course, it isn’t always sunshine and roses but overall it is a joyful experience spending my days with these young minds.

In Jamaica, high schoolers are anywhere from 11 – 19 years old (first form to grade 13 in the schools where I taught ). In Japan, they are 14 – 18 years old (grades 10 -12).

Here are some of the perks I enjoy while teaching high schoolers:

  • These students are on the cusp of adulthood. They have something of a variety of life experiences that they can reflect on to enrich discussions. This also means that they challenge you on different points as a teacher and help you to more effectively serve them.
  • Many of them are often more focused because they have dreams of going to college soon. At some point in high school these students share their plans and seek your input. In this way, you get a chance to share with them more and show more of yourself at that stage of your life. You are able to use some of what you learned then to help guide them.
  • I like that I can explore a variety of texts with them on present and past issues, as we study the English Language and Literature. Over time, they learn to relax and share their insights freely. It is always awe-inspiring how they can evaluate texts and share elements that I totally fail to see. I am reminded often that the teacher-student relationship is one where we both learn. It is a humbling experience.
  • As a high school teacher, I also get to help my students transition to college. I write quite a few recommendation letters and help with college applications, as well as, prepare them for exams of course. I try never to forget that I am influencing their futures and their dreams. With this in mind I make time to write these documents, revisit them a few times and revise them as necessary.
  • I also make opportunities to teach them how to budget and why it’s important. It’s not in the curriculum but it is an important life lesson. This means, I also point them to some videos on YouTube to expand their knowledge of this and make their way. Many of them go from getting an allowance from their parents to having to manage a good sum of money when they go away to university.
  • You have the opportunity to transition from being just their teacher to being a lifelong friend (hopefully). I have some graduates who have gone on to university. We often meet and keep in touch online. Now, I am more of a mentor, I think, who is seen as a source of advice on many aspects of their lives. It is also good to catch up over a meal from time to time.

I am blessed to go and do something I love and enjoy, even on the most trying days. I see myself as serving my students through what I help them to learn. I look forward to more years meeting others and pouring into them, as they help me to learn and grow as well. High school is where I called to be and I an thankful that I discovered this early in my career.

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