Whether you are currently teaching teenagers or are planning to do so in the future, there is one important teaching technique that I'd like to remind you of today.
That is, I'd like to remind you to use eye contact with your students. Take time to literally see your students with eyes open. Whether you implore words along with your eye contact is optional. The fact that you acknowledge each teen student's presence, silent though it may be, is what matters. Given the psycho-social orientation of their development, it is of immense value for a teenager to be noticed by a caring, mentoring adult.
Adult yoga students arrive to class ready for the inward experience that yoga offers. While adults are happy to have the time alone and be inwardly focused, teenagers are particularly programmed to process the world through each other's eyes. In the beginning of a yoga class, they are checking out who's in the room. Eye contact with the teacher helps them understand class is beginning and the teacher is ready.
While they are doing poses, the teacher's eye contact helps them feel noticed, and therefore more interested in noticing for themselves, what's happening in their body. I think this warrior 1 photo above illustrates this well. These girls are happy to show me their poses and are really getting into it!
Eye contact is also a form of encouragement. Because they are being witnessed, they respond with more self-focus. And, I've observed, they seem to have more fun as they are being noticed by the teacher and "in the flow" of the class, along with their fellow classmates.
It sounds simple but so many of us teachers aren't employing eye contact enough with our students. It's different teaching adults yoga. Teenagers, however, will thrive with increased use of eye contact by the teacher. Eye contact opens the door to a relationship from which real teaching can occur.
In summary, I encourage you to practice more eye contact with the teenagers in your life. Watch for their response, both individually and as a group. See for yourself how much help you can be for teenagers simply by "seeing" them.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Christy Brock Miele and have been sincerely and happily teaching teenagers yoga for 20 years. I am pleased to offer you ALL of my resources for sharing yoga with teenagers at YogaMinded.com. Included there is a 15 hour certification course, a complete "How to" Instructor's Guide, teaching videos, yoga 4 teens streaming DVD, ebooks, logos for your use and more. My hope is to help others reach teenagers and short cut the path to becoming an effective teen teacher. Come learn with me online!