Working With Different Age Groups As A Substitute Teacher - Continued

As a substitute teacher, knowing how to work with different age groups is very important. The App-Garden’s Online Substitute Teacher Training  program instructs potential substitutes on how to work with various age groups. For this specific post, we will be focusing on middle school and high school classrooms.

If substituting for a middle school class…

  • Middle school students display a wide range of individual intellectual development as their minds experience transition from the concrete-manipulatory stage to the capacity for abstract thought.
  • They are intensely curious and prefer active over passive learning experiences. They enjoy interaction with peers during learning activities.
  • Middle schoolers exhibit a strong willingness to learn things they consider to be useful and enjoy using skills to solve real life problems.
  • Social concerns dominate their thoughts and activities. They experience the phenomenon of metacognition, which is the ability to know what one knows and does not know.
  • They can be intellectually at-risk because they face decisions that have the potential to affect major academic values with lifelong consequences.
  • Middle schoolers experience a new surge for independence. This can lead to passive-aggressive behavior, self-consciousness, self-doubt or over-confidence, and of course, moodiness.
  • They need frequent affirmation and want to know and feel that significant adults, including parents and teachers, love and accept them.
  • Middle schoolers often experience traumatic situations due to conflicting loyalties to peer groups and family and refer to peers as sources for standards and models of behavior. They may be rebellious towards authority, but still strongly dependent on parental values. They want to make their own choices, but the authority of the family is a critical factor in ultimate decisions.
  • Middle schoolers can act out unusual or drastic behavior at times which may be aggressive, daring, boisterous, or argumentative.

If substituting for a high school class…

  • As you look at your class, you will notice that some students are able to focus for only half an hour and others for upwards of one and a half hours. Some are ready to move from concrete ideas to discussion of abstract ideas, while others are not. They require lessons that involve greater self-sufficiency and need flexible instructional strategies to personalize instruction.
  • They develop higher levels of cognitive functioning while skill development is accelerated to prepare for college or job training programs. Their cognitive ability is often affected by overall socialization.
  • Language and overall verbalization skills increase, allowing improved communication in both school and home situations.
  • High school is a time to really begin defining one’s self and realistically contemplating the future.
  • Friendships form and social interactions increase, which have the potential for boosting self-esteem.
  • If you substitute in a high school, you will likely teach only one or maybe two subjects, but you may teach 100 students in a day.
  • It is especially important to follow the lesson plan in high school as students are on a time-table for courses and testing.
  • Allegiance and affiliation shifts from parents and teachers to friends and peers. Social tasks and situations are handled without adult supervision and advice. Social skills are honed and relationships take on more of a serious nature.
  • Peer pressure is at its max and in today’s teen society there are more tempting sidetracks than ever.

Now that you have learned more about different age groups and aspects of the middle school and high school classrooms,  set up a product demonstration for the Virtual Substitute Teacher Training program to provide the substitute teachers at your district with the knowledge and confidence to substitute at all age levels.  View this video excerpt from our online substitute teacher training program called the Effective Substitute Teacher training that talks about working with high school students and different age groups.