Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Teach the Generation

I teach the generation that believes America has always been at war.

I teach the generation that thinks dictionaries are outdated.

The generation that takes internet for granted, knows words like wi-fi, iPods, and Facebook.

I teach the generation that knows Apple is not just a fruit or even just a computer.

I teach the generation that has never seen the World Trade Centers.

The kids that believe that history is only something that happened more than 5 years ago and has vaguely heard of Hitler.

I teach the generation that believes having a cellphone is a natural right of passage, as is getting your first computers, alongside a car.

I teach the kids that want more technology and know how to use it already, sometimes better than their teachers.

I teach the kids that ask more questions and are used to answers right at their fingertips.  That information is free and always accurate, after all, the internet told them so.

I teach the kids that believe books come in many shapes and forms and libraries are mostly just for school use.

I teach the kids that are consumers, always wanting more, bigger, better.  New is great, old is bad, and used is only sometimes acceptable.

I teach the generation that will teach the next generation, what will they teach them?


Jennifer Wagner said...

As we come up on the 10th anniversary -- I think a lot about our younger students not even having the World Trade Centers as part of their life.

I also realize that this generation will never wonder if a black man could be president or that a woman could be on the Supreme Court.

The world recycle is a given in their lives.

Spaceflight will not be the wow in their lives or even really be amazed as we were (are).

We teach students who believe the first Star Wars movie was Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

We teach students who feel they can change the world via their fingers with text, chat, and blogging.

and I 100% agree with your thought:
I teach the generation that believes having a cellphone is a natural right of passage, as is getting your first computers, alongside a car.

I very much enjoyed this post -- thank you for sharing.


Dalton Jackson said...

Excellent post. I think we sometimes fail to appreciate how different today's students are than the ones who came before them. They have access more resources, opportunities, and temptations than anyone else in the history of the world.

I think it leads to good and bad.

On the negative, I've had plagiarized assignments submitted to me that still have the blue Wikipedia hyperlinks embedded. This has happened more than once. With the advent of copy-paste, plagiarism is so much more tempting.

On the positive side, students can access information and satisfy their curiosity in unprecedented ways.

I think one of the best things, though, is that we can stay in touch with and keep track of our students in ways that we never could before.

I left teaching, and now work as a graduate research assistant in a University laboratory. One of my former tenth grade biology students (now a community college student) is now my lab assistant. I get to continue the mentoring relationship and she gets to gain valuable lab experience that will look good on her University transfer applications and graduate school applications. This would never have happened had she not found me on Facebook and struck up a conversation. It's amazing how the combination of my teaching career and social media have provided me with the opportunity to continue to contribute even though I've moved on.


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