6 Things High School Students Wish Their Science Teachers Knew

6 Things High School Students Wish Their Science Teachers Knew

You might be a high school teacher if you read the blog title and worried just a little bit about what it might reveal! Because we know as high school science teachers that high school can be a wild ride for many! 

But here’s the thing, it can be a bit of a smoother ride when we know our students and what’s going on in their lives just a little better. And the best way to do that is to examine what your students wish you knew a bit more about what’s going on in their world. 

So buckle up as we explore the uncharted territories of teenage challenges, aspirations, and hopes for the future, and discover how you can be the teacher they didn’t know they needed.

6 Things Science Teachers Should Know About High School Students

Grasping the Hustle

Life for high schoolers today resembles a sprint through a social media marathon, with TikToks and Instagram reels competing for attention. Students want you to recognize that they’re juggling more than just textbooks –extracurriculars, part-time jobs and, of course, social media are all part of the hustle. Acknowledge their multi-tasking mastery, and provide some flexibility when and if you can, and you’ll forge a connection that transcends the classroom. 

In my experience, co-creating deadlines is an easy approach that can support students, particularly with their mental health. When a unit will conclude with a test or a larger assignment, I check in with students about dates since they are often juggling a lot of deadlines and due dates for school and life beyond it. I know how long it takes me to prep materials and then grade after so I have a window of ideal timing for myself, but with student input, I can also provide a window of ideal timing for them. And I must say this approach has been successful in that I more often than not receive better work from students in the long run.

Beyond the Syllabus

In a world where hashtags rule, high school students yearn for teachers who see them as more than just pupils with pens. Drop the formalities for a bit, engage in conversations beyond the curriculum, and show genuine interest in their lives. Find common ground, be it a shared love for a Netflix series or the latest viral meme. One way to do this is by using attendance questions such as would you rather X or Y, or one’s gotta go where students are presented with four choices and have to remove one. With such an approach, you might just discover the secret to unlocking their enthusiasm for your subject.

6 Innovative Ideas for Taking Attendance: Making It Fun and Engaging!

For more on making attendance fun and engaging, check out this post about transforming a routine task into an exciting and interactive experience for both teachers and students.

Embracing Diversity, One Meme at a Time

Our classrooms are diverse and students want you to turn that diversity into a celebration. Finding ways to make the learning experience more inclusive can include modern examples in your lessons, memes that resonate with different backgrounds, and acknowledging pop culture. Spice up your teaching game by weaving the latest internet trends into your material – you’ll be amazed at how quickly you become the cool teacher.

This is when having those relationships with students beyond the syllabus can be helpful. If you don’t have your own social media accounts or you’re not aware of the latest trend, students are often willing to share, so ask away!

Tech Talk

High school students are the digital natives of our time, and they wish their teachers understood just how integral technology is. Instead of fighting the smartphone revolution, embrace it when you can! This does not mean having a cell phone in hand for every lesson, but there are times when being tech-friendly is beneficial for learning.

Finding times and ways to use digital tools in your lessons, explore educational apps, and create a tech-friendly zone in your classroom will equip students with another set of skills. When you bridge the gap between traditional teaching and tech-savvy learning, everyone wins.

Mental Health is the New Cool

Beyond the memes and the tech, high schoolers want their teachers to recognize the significance of mental health. Today’s teens are navigating a mental health landscape that’s evolving, and they want you to be an ally. Understanding the link between mental health and academic success will make you not just a teacher but a superhero in their eyes.

ScienceFlow Yoga Activity 1

Mindfulness is another way to ensure a good environment for students. One way to do that is through ScienceFlow Yoga, which combines science concepts and terminology with light body movements. This mind-body connection can be used for different grades at different points in the year. Whether students need a break in a lesson or a few moments of calm and quiet concentration before a test or exam, ScienceFlow Yoga is an ideal choice.

Some ways to make your classroom a supportive space for students include having open conversations about well-being, creating a judgment-free zone, and encouraging seeking help when needed. 

Check out this blog post for ideas on how to infuse mindfulness into your science class.

How to Include Mindfulness in Science Class with ScienceFlow Yoga

Ignite the Spark: My Own Experience

Students absolutely thrive on the energy of science teachers who embrace their inner nerds with an unbridled passion for the subject. There’s something magical about a teacher who can’t help but geek out over the intricacies of science. Take a page from my playbook: I had an unforgettable high school physics teacher, one of the teachers who inspired me to become a science teacher – the one who is as tall as an NBA basketball player and would defy gravity by leaping onto his desk whenever he got super excited. 

This later inspired me to be the nerdiest science teacher. My students would bring me back things from their vacations, like rocks and soil samples, just because they knew how excited I would get. 

Embrace your unique brand of “science nerd” and let your enthusiasm light up the room whether it’s delving into mind-boggling facts, sharing quirky trivia, or, yes, even staging the occasional desk jump! Your authentic passion will not only make you memorable but will also kindle a genuine love for science among your students, which may just include a future high school science teacher.

Final Words

In the tumultuous journey of high school, understanding the intricate layers of a student’s world is key to becoming the teacher they never knew they needed. 

There are lots of ways to get to know students that can fit who you are as a person. It’s not a matter of being inauthentic and putting on a presentation of who you think you should be as a teacher. Instead, it’s a matter of being yourself and using that approach to include and embrace the opportunities to better understand who your students are too!

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