Children Today, Am I Right?

Children today don’t know how to communicate face-to-face. They never read. All you ever see is the tops of their heads. Thumbs gliding across phone screens.

Add to the list. You know you want to.

Sprinkle on some “when I was in school” for good measure.

Teaching like a teacher means not imbibing on this faculty-room toxic brew. All of the above comments —and anything you might have added in— are code for “I just want more control of my students so they’ll sit there, smile, shut up and listen.”

Here’s a fact: when you were in school, your teachers said the same things about you “children today.” Replace text messages or snapchats with notes written on paper, and i’s dotted with little hearts.

Another fact: when these children today become adults, they’ll also complain about children today. And so on, and so on…

Something else I remind myself of from time to time…Children haven’t changed over time. That is, the kids who will sit in front of me in a couple of weeks are not the same human beings who sat there 20 years ago. While this is a “no duh” kind of comment, it’s important to recognize this.

When children today walk into a classroom, they’re not thinking, “Nobody had cell phones 25 years ago, but I’m going to snap my friends in class today because I’m not well-behaved like those students of yesteryear.” No, they are just living life as they have always known it. Living in the world that adults today have presented to them.

Chew on that for a minute.

Then wash it down with this: By the very nature of their use of screens, children today read and write more than we ever did. Way more.

Further, I don’t understand the attack on their critical thinking skills, especially with regards to their access to technology. Don’t confuse memorizing stuff with critical thinking. Critical thinking is ripping apart an idea, topic or notion and forming a judgment. Think of all the information that is available to children today at the swipe of a finger. They rip stuff apart with their BFFs and debate constantly. It just happens to be about mascara instead of mitochondria.

So, dear reader, teach like a teacher this year by empathizing with your students in all ways, but specific to this article, by understanding that their world doesn’t seep into their brains through boxy televisions or landline telephones. Instead, it flashes in through HD screens that fit in the palms of their hands.

And, fitting neatly with the previous Teach Like a Teacher article, how will you both create a classroom environment that allows children today to feel comfortable by focusing on their strengths and interests and prepares them to succeed in a world that looks less and less like it did when we were kids?

 

I’m just a regular old teacher. No cape, no eye patch. I have no synonyms for innovation but I do want to do my job as best as I can.

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