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Friday, September 08, 2006

The Failure Of My Generation

Ed Part I: From the Vast Archive Of Drafts this post was started December 1, 2005. Time I finished it I guess. I'm so glad I'm not going back to substitute teaching this year. It wasn't as flexible as they said, and it doesn't pay enough for the crap you have to deal with.

Ed Part II: Blogger misplaced this post but I managed to retrieve it. I can be crafty sometimes.

This thought occurred to me a nearly two months ago in the middle of class: I could be teaching the children of people I went to high school with. 8th graders are a jaded, rebellious group. I had been switched to a different middle school and was learning that something was horribly wrong at Satan Spawn Middle School. At Regular Middle School once the 8th graders knew you they would work with you to an extent. At SSMS these children were outright evil. Later I would talk to other subs and regular teachers at other schools and told that it something was simply different at SSMS. This was the problem school of the district. For whatever reason these children has no respect for authority, didn't care about learning, didn't care about consequences, and they ruled the classrooms, not the teachers.

What caused these children to simply disrespect adults? What caused these children to be so self-indulgent in their own world that the outside world didn't matter to them? Did their parent(s) not care about their education by providing any reinforcement? Did any adult provide any positive attention to them? Did these hellions not have an example of someone working hard to accomplish great things? I didn't have any answers for those questions, but I knew one thing. It proved impossible to teach at SSMS.

In some respects a child is a reflection upon the parent. I wondered where did we as parents go wrong with the current generation. Some independence is good, but independence requires wisdom as a guide. At age 13 these kids weren't as wise as they acted or believed. Did we give them too much independence and no boundaries because our hippie parents decided boundaries were bad for us? Down with the man, rebel against the machine, fight the establishment man, and let's smoke a joint! That was our parent's motto and did they pass it along to us? Did we in turn pass that to our children?

I don't know, but I feel we failed somewhere. It seems we've reaped what we've sown. Our's was the first generation where limits truly fell into disuse. Now I can't get this generation to understand they can't do anything they want. Even with multiple teachers in the room too many students were too interested in their own mouth.

I fear we as parents and as a society have finally created a generation of children that know no bounds. They truly don't understand that we're interdependant as a society. In order to have a functional society we have to realize some limits exist on our abilities. In other words: it isn't all about me, me, me! Perhaps it is our fault as parents. In our coming of age it was the Me Generation 80s.

Is it too late for society to fix what we broke?

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