The students I choose to teach will be 12-18. During these ages, teh most important thing in each of the student’s lives is their self. They have the mentality
I matter most to me
And I have to deal with that as their teacher. The thing I think is most important to help them understand is that their self-perception isn’t always accurate (and may actually never be), they probably aren’t giving themselves enough credit, their friends don’t actually judge them as much as they think, and everyone is going through the same problems and they are not alone.
This is the age at which Erikson’s stage of identity vs. role confusion is most important (there will be work still to accomplish in industry vs. inferiority and forays into intimacy vs. isolation also).
My personal focus is on helping students develop into functional adults. They will need budgeting, computer tech, and similar business and CTE skills that will actually aid their lives. Helping them realize that, mentioning it frequently, praising their efforts to define themselves will all be part of how I benefit their growth.
Additionally, I can assign projects and assessments that will help them be more self-directed to learn more about topics that benefit their growth and things they are interested in learning about. My focus is really on helping develop functional people. Grades is secondary.