I would like to throw this next question out, because it is a seriously legitimate question. I am in my first full year of teaching, and my students are anywhere in the range of 11- to 14- years of age. I teach a variety of subjects, depending on the day, and I live and work in a very urban and very poor area. Despite the economic troubles, there is a strong sense of family and culture penetrating the city.
So here is the question: What is WITH kids today?
I didn’t think I was that old, but (and I didn’t think I’d be saying this for at least another twenty years) when I was that age, I didn’t know such foul language existed, and I was far from being a sheltered child. To paraphrase Lewis Black, the “f-bomb” isn’t so much a word as it is a comma. Sexual suggestions, slurs, and commentary one would expect to hear in “Fifty Shades of Gray” can be heard just passing through the hallways. Students are aggressive toward each other, constantly threatening to throw punches. At best, none can stop talking for more than a minute or so, and their silliness leaves them falling out of their chairs and knocking their books onto the floor.
It’s amazing if any actual knowledge is absorbed.
We try. We go in there, battle-hardened warriors, day after day, never sure if anything we do is making any sense. Are we educating? Are we passing along the facts? Are we getting them to think? Are they interested in the material? Do they want to learn more? Are we giving them the tools to succeed outside the classroom? How can we tell if they’re not responding to us?
I don’t have an answer. I know if I behaved like that when I was in middle school, well, no one in my school would have ever behaved like that. Ever. How does an entire system get turned upside down over the course of a mere 15 years? When did the inmates start running the asylum?
I love my students, but a solution has to be found, or I may burn out of my career before it really even starts.