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Looking too young

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Bodegabuttons, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. This is a question for my sister. She looks much younger for her age - has just turned 23 but some people think she looks as young as 13-14! The problem is although working with primary aged children they seem to not see her as a person with authority and an adult - so sometimes behaviour isn't always good.
  2. I had a similar problem in FE - the day a member of staff mistook me for a student was the last day I didn't wear a suit.

    She can't change her looks but whe can change her hair, clothes and makeup.
  3. Good excuse to go shopping I guess...again.
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    To get the children to see her as an adult with an air of authority, she needs to behave as such. It isn't so much about looks as about body language, voice, words, actions, etc. If your sister can develop those then she will have the authority needed. Remember student teachers are , and often look, younger and yet manage that authority.
  5. True although the average student teacher doesn't look like they are in their early teens. I agree about the confidence and delivery though.
  6. This has made me smile - when I first started teaching 30+ years ago and only 5' 2" I made the grave mistake of wearing a navy blue skirt and a white cheesecloth blouse ( who remembers those?!) it so happened that was the school uniform ( I didn't know) I blended in as one of the pupils!! being only a few years older had to work hard to establish my status and authority - it can be done and as you say is largely to do with body language and 'presence'. reflect on your practice.....
  7. She isn't very old anyway. This is partly a "fake it till you make it" issue.
    I remember a bloke I knew who belonged to a drama group. He talked one day about an exercise they all had to do. You had to "act" being an old old person with no makeup, costume or props as back up.
    It was all about posture, attitude and body language.
    Your sister may have to "act" being a 35 year old executive or other mature person in a responsible, dominant role.
  8. I had a similar problem because I started working in a vocational school where the students were only a few years younger than me and I solved it by always wearing a suit to work and drawing a strict line between who I was professionally and in private life. I think it worked. Now I can afford being much more relaxed about it - at least I know that if I have problems with discipline, they are not caused by me looking too young.
  9. Thanks all to those who responded, interesting.
  10. LBeardmore

    LBeardmore New commenter

    When I was 22, I went to work in Japan for two years. There was a teacher who came to collect me from the airport, 'Sano Sensei' dressed in a tracksuit and had pig tails. I was amazed to learn the 'girl' with the brand new Skyline, who listened to Britney and was 4' 10" was 25 years old. She looked a fresh 16 at a push. I am ashamed to remember thinking that she just couldn't possibly cut it with 40, 15-18 year old students in a class at a time. When I walked in to her classroom on Monday morning, the room was silent with listening pupils. There was Sano Sensei, shoulders back, suited and booted, talking ten to the dozen with enthusiasm and intelligence. The pupils later told me that she was their favourite teacher - knew all the popular culture and enjoyed talking to them about it, but also knew her subject well. Your sister is fortunate. Authority is earned through good relationships and she can use her energy, youthfulness and drive to win pupils over.
  11. I worked with a guy a few years ago who literally looked 12. Year 8 boys dwarfed him. Yet he was one of the best behaviour managers I have ever seen. He had great relationships with students but from the minute they walked in the class they knew he was in control, and what the expectations and boundaries were.

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