Views #1443 | Intermediate (B1)

Students by Age

Katie talks about how students can vary in personality by age as you teach them.

Aimee: So Katie, you're a teacher.

Katie: Yes.

Aimee: What is your favorite age group of students?

Katie: Probably my favorite age group is around the junior high school age. So from about 11 to 15.

Aimee: Okay.

Katie: I think they're the most interesting to teach.

Aimee: What makes them so interesting?

Katie: Well, they already have personalities. And they're like almost adults but not quite adults. So it's interesting to see like – I think that it's just really interesting to teach them and see how they respond to stuff. It's very different from adults and it's very different from children but it's kind of almost there but not quite.

Aimee: Yeah. That sort of bridging, bridging age group, I guess.

Katie: Yeah. So they're still like, they're still young kids. I can still teach them stuff but they're old enough to also do stuff by themselves.

Aimee: Yes.

Katie: So it's like the perfect age group to teach, I think.

Aimee: Yeah. Independence.

Katie: Yeah.

Aimee: That's right. What about things like behavior and attitude? I just imagine that age group to be quite challenging. I mean, there's a lot of hormones going on and, you know, personalities are forming, so.

Katie: Usually when in their first year of junior high school, they're fine because they're all still like, they're still babies. They've gone from being the oldest kids in elementary school to like the babies at junior high school.

But when they get to second year, that's when they start getting like a bit moody, a bit hormonal, a bit grumpy in class. But then when they go to third grade, that's when they start becoming normal people again, I think.

Aimee: So the second year is the challenging year.

Katie: Yeah. Yeah. The terrible twos.

Aimee: Yeah.

Katie: Yeah.

Aimee: Well that works in both ways, huh?

Katie: Yeah, it does.

Aimee: So do you have any particular strategies or tips for dealing with that difficult age?

Katie: I think why they're so moody is because they're – again, they're almost adults. They're becoming adults. So if you stop treating them like kids and start treating them like adults, talking to them like adults, treating them like you treat an adult, then they respond better to that than if you like to shout at them like you would a kid or if you discipline them like you would a kid.

Aimee: Yeah.

Katie: Yeah. Just treat them more like adults and they respond to it really well, I think.

Aimee: So you find they step up to the – they meet the expectations.

Katie: Most of the time. Most of the time.

Aimee: Have you ever had any particularly challenging moments in the classroom?

Katie: Yeah. Yeah.

Aimee: Silly question really, isn't it?

Katie: Of course. Yeah. I mean, I've had kids like throw textbooks out the window.

Aimee: Oh really?

Katie: I've had kids like punch their fists through walls like just – yeah, I've had lots of angry kids. But they're very rare.

Aimee: Wow.

Katie: I've had lots of them but they're rare.

Aimee: Yeah, that's an interesting…

Katie: Interesting, yeah.

Aimee: Yeah.

Katie: In terms of like overall in a class, there's usually only one in each class that's a troubled student. But I mean, that's anywhere. That happens anywhere.

Aimee: That's true. So how do you deal with troubled students?

Katie: I think that's a very difficult question. There's no like textbook way of dealing with troubled students in general because every kid is different. Every kid has a different problem. Every kid is acting out for different reasons. So you have to find out why they're troubled, why they're acting out and try and deal with it in the best way you can.

Aimee: Uh-hmm.

Katie: Yeah. Don't get angry. It was probably my best advice even though you feel like strangling them sometimes. But just try and be patient, try and figure out why they're acting out and just deal with it from there.

Aimee: Yeah. Nine times out of ten, staying calm is probably the best option, isn't it?

Katie: Hmm. And the one time out of ten, is when you really need to get really angry. That's the scary time.

Aimee: Yeah. Sometimes, they just need to know because there may be children with, you know, just personalities, strong personalities and they just are maybe showing off to the class, being a clown. And they just need that one moment where you show them, "You have to listen to me. I am the boss" kind of thing.

Katie: Yeah.

Aimee: Just get your power back perhaps?

Answer these questions about the interview.
Audio Lessons about Phrases and Vocabulary


They start getting a bit grumpy in class.

When you are grumpy you are in a bad mood and you are not happy. Notice the following:

  1. I am grumpy in the mornings.
  2. She is always grumpy with me.


I've had kids punch their fists through walls

When you punch something, you hit it hard by hitting it with your fist. Notice the following:

  1. I got punched in the mouth.
  2. The student punched the teacher and got in trouble.

troubled student

There's usually only one in each class that's a troubled student.

A troubled student is a student with problems who often rebels in class. Notice the following:

  1. I was a troubled student in high school.
  2. Teachers must sometimes deal with troubled students.

act out

Every kid is acting out for different reasons.

When people act out, they behave badly to get attention or because they are upset about something. Notice the following:

  1. When kids get tired, they often act out.
  2. At my work, customers sometimes have a fit and act out when they get mad.

nine times out of ten

Nine times out of ten, staying calm is probably the best option.

The phrase nine times out of ten just mean usually. Notice the following:

  1. I drive to work. Nine times out of ten there is no traffic, but sometimes it is bad.
  2. People think most businesses are successful, but nine times out of ten they fail.

show off

They just are maybe showing off to the class.

When people show off, they act a certain way to get attention, feel special, or get noticed. Notice the following:

  1. She is always showing off her money.
  2. He is nice, but he shows off for attention.

Vocabulary Quiz

Use the words below to complete the sentences.

show off • punch • grumpy
troubled • act out • nine times
  1. He used to me in the arm as a joke.
  2. Some children in class when angry.
  3. My grandfather can be at times.
  4. She was a student in high school.
  5. Well, out of ten, I am right!
  6. She loves to her new car.

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Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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