I have gotten used to the fact that I teach Freshman. This can be a wonderfully exciting task and at the same time very frustrating. Just like everything else, they come in all shapes and sizes, but most importantly they come with different personalities. I have experienced that it is during this time that you can really see the differences.
Well, one particular type of freshman comes across as being very immature and they really like to joke around a lot. At first glance a teacher may see this as a problem, since the clever little guys are always keeping the teacher on their toes. I finally figured out, after having them for 3 months, that when they get this way they really just want to play. They love playing! But more importantly they want somebody to play with them. It is important to keep your professional distance, but I found that I am way more successful with them if I play with them at their level. Sometimes, I am better at being more annoying than they are, and all of a sudden it’s not as cool to be annoying because the teacher does it better. It may seem strange, but it helps to curb their behavior.
None of this may be right and it probably doesn’t align with any research or best practice teaching. But as far as figuring out my freshman, it seems to be a key into their complex little minds. You see, they are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Will I get offended by that or will I just learn to play with them? A good thought to meditate on.