Adolescence and Puberty in Education
The “sensitive period” in the life of an adolescent is puberty which comes along with challenges and uncertainties other than obvious physical ones. Adolescents struggle to balance academics and unfamiliar experiences that make it difficult for them to concentrate during lessons.
Unfortunately, educators pay less attention to adolescent psychosomatic trauma during this puberty period. During puberty, adolescents experience; oily skin, gain in weight and height, menarche, breast buds, change of voice, gynecomastia, irregularity of menstrual cycles, and chronic fatigue which makes adolescents be moody, timid, overactive, smart-mouthed, know-it-all, rebellious, secretive, instability, and sarcastic. Besides, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-identity are at the peak to be nurtured by educators. Puberty whose onset is 10 years-15 years is a period where educators need to be extremely sensitive to provide assistance to help adolescents navigate through these experiences and not to leave everlasting scars.
Some adolescents’ poor performance in school can be associated with the emotional trauma they go through during puberty. Most teachers lack knowledge about puberty and are unable to assist their students. Some teachers are mere purveyors of content, they do not work beyond the curriculum or contact hours. As educators, we need to know that educating a child goes beyond imparting knowledge.
I believe that knowing your students and helping them to be comfortable with the natural experiences they are facing give them greater opportunities to learn and excel. Therefore, teachers need to be patient and supportive during these times. We need to create a conducive environment that promulgates trust and assurance. As educators, we are coauthors of our students’ life experiences, therefore, I believe that through encouragement and guidance educators will help them through their experiences. We need to harness their lives with ours to promote efficient learning. We must be companions and interactive mirrors not didactic evaluators for them during this sensitive period.