Is it a different world?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by brians1024, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. brians1024

    brians1024 Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2011

    I've made a few posts and those that have seen them know that I'm not in the teaching profession, but rather thinking about retiring to teaching in about 10 years.

    I'm 48 and my wife just started teaching this year.

    I think back to when I was in school (hard to do sometimes, it was so long ago :) ) and I don't remember teachers having it as hard as you do now. I don't remember classes where students were constantly having to be told to stay in there seats. I don't even remember teachers having a lot of trouble with students talking in class.

    Do students seem to be getting worse as time goes on?
     
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  3. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    From my point of view (same school for 25 years) I think kids
    are the same. Do more come from messed up places?
    You bet. Not nearly as many two parent homes now as
    years gone by and that has a real affect. Do teachers have
    WAY more paperwork (busy work) to do? Tons more? Are we
    more inclined to run into nutty parents? You bet. But kids are still kids to me. Same sweet ones, sad ones, many needing attention, and many that seem pretty well adjusted.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm a bit older than you, brians1024, and I have vivid memories of disruptive students in my elementary and high school classes (I also have a vivid memory of a teacher hitting a student, but that's a different story...). Almost every one of my elementary school report cards has a comment about talking too much! I agree with stephenpe. Kids are kids, now as then, each with their own unique strengths and needs.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    "The children now love luxury; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are tyrants, not servants of the households. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize over their teachers."

    "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint."



    Both those quotations are attributed to ancient Greek writers and philosophers. There is some disagreement about who exactly said what... The point is that people have been saying the same things for thousands of years. The kids haven't changed, and neither have the people who complain about them.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, that the people who complain about today's generation forget who raised it.
     
  6. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I recently was reading a biography of Noah Webster, and was amused by his description (as a boy) of how much of the class time was wasted on disruptions and the teacher having to deal with students on all different levels...
     
  7. brians1024

    brians1024 Rookie

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    I guess it must be chalked up to age and perception.

    What I must have perceived as "orderly" when I was in school, maybe would appear "disorderly" if I were there now? :mellow:
     
  8. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Kids haven't changed in my opinion...but parents have. Since I have started teaching I have seen more parents wanting to be their child's "friend and savior." When I started I hardly ever had a parent take the child's side without talking to me...now almost all notes start with the claim of their child's innocence. I am not sure that we have trained parents to do this or if it is just easier as a parent.
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I went to school with the same students from grade 1 to grade 6, and there were a couple of read nut-job parents who were constantly at school and causing a stink with the teachers, keeping things stirred up with the child and other children, and arguing with other parents.

    When I went to middle school (1981), I saw behaviors from students that I had NEVER seen before . . . ever. There were people who got into fights, wouldn't stay in their seats, and wouldn't work.

    One of the worst behaved boys from my 7th grade class has sent his clone to my classroom this year. OMG! He's just like his dad!
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I started teaching in 1980. I haven't seen any difference in the teenagers I teach. Kids are kids are kids.

    I have seen noticeable differences in my ability to control a class, but that's a function of my own experience, not the kids I teach.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I, for one, think it is a different world. I have a pretty solid and think accurate memory of my school years. We were not perfect, but I think we were different compared to the classes I teach today.
     
  12. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    I also think that many of us teachers were the "good" students when we were in school, so we got placed into the "good" classes. I didn't have many classes other than PE with the "bad" kids at my high school, so I can only imagine what they acted like in class. Now, however, I get to teach all of them. :)
     
  13. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I was with the same kids from 5th grade to 12th. There were a small number of us. I do remember the trouble makers. Plus my dad was the principal. I know parents that stirred trouble even back then...late 80's. BUT I stand by the attitude that the children have not changed since I started (1992), but parents have. Also administration has also. When I started most principals were there to support their staff. The last two principal's I have had have been then to "buffer" the public. They seem to give in more to the parents.
     
  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I was a student in a totally different context from the one that I teach in, so I don't think it's fair to compare. My schooling was generally peaceful. Now I have a student tell me to get my ugly white self out of the classroom. Or they throw furniture. Or they refuse to do work and crumple it up. It's so bizarre to me. I would have never DREAMED of these behaviors when I was 8 years old. My Dad would have had my butt so fast...So. Fast. I'd have no privileges for years!
     
  15. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    I agree that parents have changed. They let their children see things on television,in real life, and at the movies that I didn't even know about until I was a teenager. Why is a 6 year old watching Nightmare on Elm Street?
    Too many of my students have seen inappropriate movies, heard adult conversations that should have taken place out of earshot, and seen things that make me shudder.
    There is no innocence in childhood anymore.
     
  16. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    To me, kids are kids, when it comes to certain behaviors. However, our world has changed, and as a society, I believe are very indulged. I find my students now, as compared to 20 years ago, are lazier, more enabled by parents to not do the work, and harder to motivate. I find that students' inappropriate behavior is often overlooked, or that parents excuse the behavior or blame the school, and I find that discouraging.
     
  17. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    I think, to some extent, it all depends on the location.

    There was NEVER the amount of violence in the high school I attended compared to where I teach.

    I see more of a "Make me" attitude from a larger percentage of the students whenever there's an assignment where I teach. You reply to them, "Well, you'll fail," they counter, "I don't care," and then you find out the parent doesn't care, either.

    That attitude was a foreign concept in the high school I attended, also.
     
  18. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    I agree that I have taught in schools very different then the school I teach in. Therefore I do not think I could even begin to compare.
     
  19. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    I think kids are the similar, but are parents have changed, causing a lot of the respect/tolerance issues that happen in the classroom today. Too many parents don't expect their kids to take responsibility for anything and think their child will play in the NFL or NBA.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think I parent in a very similar manner to the way I was raised. Sure, there are small differences-- we don't normally do a big Sunday dinner, my 2 older kids have cell phones, that sort of stuff.

    But I think the core values we teach to our kids are the same ones we grew up with. For example, our kids attend mass every Sunday, just as my siblings and I did. My kids still get in trouble when they do something wrong-- just last night Kira was threatened with missing a party on Saturday if her attitude didn't change. (It did.)

    I think sometimes parents, particularly here, get a bad rap for things they can't always control.

    I DO think that education has changed, tremendously, from the education I received as a kid. Then, the focus was on basics. In elementary school, you needed to learn to read, to write, to do math. Everyone agreed on the ground rules. So you sat in rows, in your class of 50 kids, and you learned. Your parents understood the value in what you were learning, and they agreed that you needed to know it. They hoped, and maybe expected, a better life for their kids than the life they had.

    Teaching was about the teacher and the information he or she presented. It wasn't about the newest program, or the newest way to implement it, or the newest technology to enhance it, or the newest way to test it. Everyone agreed that we needed to know the basics, and everyone taught them.

    I'm sure that there were some kids who had trouble learning that way. My siblings and I weren't those kids; we thrived.

    And I think that society has changed. When I was a kid, the expection was that you would graduate from school. Then you would either go on to college or get a job as a start to a career. You could be an astronaut or a plumber, or anything in between, but you would be a productive member of society.

    That is NOT the message that bombards too many kids these days. Look at the TV shows they're watching, the people on the magazine covers, the items on the news. Many of them seem to reinforce the idea that you are owed a lot. You DESERVE that "dream job" (regardless of the competition) and that you deserve the corner office. You don't have to start at the bottom; menial labor is beneath you from the start. And if, heaven forbid, that "dream job" isn't ideal, then you quit. Because, after all, you deserve better. And having no job is far better than a job which doesn't fulfill you.

    The message our kids are bombarded with seems to be all about what you deserve, not what you should earn.

    And it starts early, with awards for perfect attendance, and soccer trophies just for showing up. Too many kids are taught that just showing up is an accomplishment, and that's where the bar is set. So there's no reason to strive for much more than that attendance trophy.

    As a parent, I've got to say: it's a lot to try to counter.I think the overwhelming majority of parents are desperately trying to do what's right for their kid. They're trying to raise decent, responsible kids who will have a shot at a decent life as adults.

    But it's an incredibly counter-culture job to try to do.
     
  21. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I have to agree with Alice on so many points.

    "I DO think that education has changed, tremendously, from the education I received as a kid. Then, the focus was on basics. In elementary school, you needed to learn to read, to write, to do math. Everyone agreed on the ground rules. So you sat in rows, in your class of 50 kids, and you learned. Your parents understood the value in what you were learning, and they agreed that you needed to know it. They hoped, and maybe expected, a better life for their kids than the life they had."

    "As a parent, I've got to say: it's a lot to try to counter.I think the overwhelming majority of parents are desperately trying to do what's right for their kid. They're trying to raise decent, responsible kids who will have a shot at a decent life as adults."

    "The message our kids are bombarded with seems to be all about what you deserve, not what you should earn."


    I believe that the kids have not changed. It is the way that we teach, the way that we interact, the way that parents perceive teachers, and the fact that kids know that they can in essence get away with so much more because they live in a society where the teacher is always questioned about his/her practices BEFORE we look at what they child can or cannot do, what they child has or has not done, and how the child feels about any given situation.

    I feel that a lot of our "rights" as teachers being THE professional have been compromised and I guess we can only blame the changes in society for that.
     
  22. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Kids will always be kids. They learn by making mistakes. Those mistakes should always be "teachable moments." However, many parents don't ever let their children make any mistakes. They are there every single moment, controlling everything their child is doing. I know parents who have all the textbooks at home, read them cover to cover, and sit and do all their kids homework (for them or with them?). I also know parents who call the school relentlessly until they get their way, even going to the district super to get their child pulled out of a class or complain about tiny details. I know parents who do their students projects, write papers, and do homework. I know parents who refuse to believe that their child has every done anything wrong. They always blame the other kid (Johnny would have never done X if he wasn't egged on by Y or Johnny is only reactionary, he only reacts to what others do). How about if a teacher accidentially marks one question wrong that was right, mis-spells something in an email or note or makes any type of mistake at all? The parents have a complete fit!

    We live in a crazy world now. Seems like parents are either way too much of helicopters, or are completely absent. Where is the middle ground? And how come people have to be completely perfect. Why are teachers blamed for all discipline problems? When did everything end up being the teachers fault and never the childs?
     
  23. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Eh, those kinds of parents were around when I was a kid too.

    I was in 2nd grade when Dirty Dancing came out. I remember hearing my friends talk about watching it with their older sisters, and how it was "so romantic." These were 2nd graders! I knew my mom wouldn't let me watch that movie without even asking her. And this was at a Catholic school. I can just imagine what the parents and students were like at the public school. I used to baby-sit for parents who would go out and get rip-roaring drunk every weekend.

    I really don't think things have changed that much. There have always been irresponsible parents who would rather be friends than parents, or who make decisions as though they were still childless.
     
  24. brians1024

    brians1024 Rookie

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    I know I'm going to probably be stirring up a hornets nest here.

    I'm not saying that I condone this, just going to say this is the way it was when I was in school.

    When I was in school, corporal punishment was allowed. We were scared to be sent to the principal's office for fear that we might get the "paddle".

    I remember a couple of teachers that had paddles in their room and used them on students in front of the class a few times.
     
  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I remember corporal punishment as well, brians1024. I can also still clearly hear, 35 years later, the sound of a yardstick hitting one of my classmates. No thanks.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Lots of things were different when I was in school.

    If we returned to corporal punishment, I would stop teaching. (And that's the very first time I've ever typed those particular words.)

    Teaching through violence is not the career I signed up for. I would refuse to be part of it.

    My kids are not good because they're afraid of me. They're good because they respect me.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Brian, you're 48 now with thoughts of retiring and going into teaching ten years from now. Consider that teaching is not an easy profession. It's even more challenging for new teachers with no experience. I admire your desire to be a teacher, but it's not an 'easy ' career to break into...and at age 58 ( not that that's old), it may seem even more challenging for many reasons including, but not limited to, 'kids these days'.
    Oh, and by the way, teachers who don't have a good handle on behavior management (which DOES NOT include fear and intimidation ) do not last long in this profession.
     
  28. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    It's actually a very difficult question to answer, because (presumably) every one of us has changed, and changed quite a bit, such that our perspective isn't the same. In other words, seeing something in different eyes means you'll have a different perspective toward it.

    I think parents had more respect for teachers than they did in the past. e.g. If my teachers said or recommended anything about me, my parents would've certainly been agreeable. Today, parents will fight anything that they see as negative (e.g. special ed). Perhaps it reflects our litigious society...

    In response to the original thought, I think it's indisputable that kids have changed. It's indisputable that they are fatter... and we know that obesity and cognition are linked. Add that to the myriad of distractions, and their current standard of living (where at least in the areas I teach, every kid seems to have not only an XBox, but a PSP, PS3, or any other PS you can have)... and I don't see how you can't come to that conclusion.
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Do we know that? Where's the evidence?
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Wow.
     
  31. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I agree. Everything has changed, so I don't see how it's likely to say kids have not changed right along with society, religion, pop culture, family structure, marital views/statistics, etc...everything is different. This is also the digital age, so their attention spans & interests are different than back in my day (the 1980's/90's).

    In just one family, sometimes the difference between the parents and children, and basically certain differences between each generation is evident.
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    This is the original question, taken from the first post.

    I don't think anyone is disputing that the world, and the people in it, have changed over the past few decades. Perhaps kids, and their parents and teachers, have gained weight-- or perhaps we're just more aware of the importance of fitness.

    Certainly kids-- and their parents and teachers-- have acess to more technology, both at home and at school.

    But as to whether students seem to be getting worse? I'll go back to Caesar's point: the ancient Greeks certainly thought so.

    But I haven't noticed any appreciable difference in their behavior since 1980.
     
  33. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Obesity is not a problem in my school. It is about the same.
    My kids are all rural kids that probably spend more time outside.
    It is usually the new kids that move in who are out of shape.
    I do have a great success story this year. First day I have a new kid in 3rd name Zander. He is dying after running the lap. He said it was too hard. After 3 months he is running with my best runner and asking to do more each day.
     
  34. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    My kids live in the suburbs of a large city. Are they fat? No, for the most part the kids are of average size, weight, and shape. I DO think it is interesting though... Moving from a different state into a new state it does seem that the adult population in my new state is slightly more heavy. But the interesting thing is that they are also more body conscious. So, there are extremes here that I did not see at home. Moms that have to go to the gym everyday here is the norm.... While in my previous state, people controlled their weight less with working out but with eating habits. (Many just plain walked for health). So,,, I do think things differ in our lives and our philosophies even state to state. But to say that the KIDS are fatter now than when I was in school.... I know some might make that argument because we have become such a technological world, but the kids that my school serves, are outside all day every day if they are not in school - for the most part. Our parks are crowded with ball fields, jammed with parents, and children of all ages. In case you had not heard, BALL rules in Texas. Football, Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, etc.... All kids do it. Organized sports are the THING! It is not only for the kids; It is often the social event for the parents. So..... I am not sure that I am buying the whole kids are fatter argument.
    And what does that have to do with the original question, friend?
     
  35. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I still believe students' behaviors have changed because of the various changes in our society. That makes sense. Adult behavior has also been influenced.
     
  36. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    I agree with you....and changes for the worse. I've always loved those guest inservice speakers who would try to be real cute and give us some quote about how ill-mannered kids are and then, "SURPRISE!, it was Socrates that said that. Now don't you teachers feel foolish? Today's kids are no worse than they were 400 B.C."

    I always thought to myself, "No, I don't feel foolish. They have been getting progressively worse in my neck of the woods. Socrates never had one of those kids he was speaking about throw a lit explosive at him or try to vandalize his car." Just because the bar keeps getting lowered by administrators and society, it doesn't mean that what was once considered unacceptable is now acceptable to many of us.
     
  37. brians1024

    brians1024 Rookie

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    Might try the substituting route first. That way, I can have rest days in between the bad days. :cool:
     
  38. BadTXTeacher

    BadTXTeacher Rookie

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    The difference I see now is kids feel you should have to earn their respect. They shouldn't just have to respect you because you are an adult. I remember as a kid, I was supposed to respect all adults or face serious consequences. Now I hear kids saying things like, "she isn't respecting me." That's really, really important to them and they will act out if they don't feel respected.
     

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