I'm currently taking a class at the local seminary about how to teach. Our teacher made the following comment.
The more a child feels comfortable with the teacher, the more they are going to act out.
I guess that's why the older Rachel gets the more she talks back to me.
Seriously though, while I'd never heard this before it makes a ton of sense.
As I got closer to the teens in youth group, they really began to feel comfortable with me and each-other. As the new teens come in they are incredibly attentive. Over time they too sometimes stray off into their own conversations.
A lot of this comes from individual maturity. The older these guys get the more willing they are to sit still and let each-other talk.
In any case it has some real repercussions, since I tend to try to connect at a personal level with people. How do you keep that connection while also commanding respect?
I guess that's a question for next class.