May 8, 2015
People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) ~The Who
From the Greatest one to The Who, everybody likes talking about the current generation. Is there a defining factor that distinguishes the current from the former? What holds sway over today’s youth? And what common thread weaves its way through the impressionable young minds of today’s generation?
“Who cares!” most of you may be muttering about now. However, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss, because what I have experienced first-hand of Generation Z aka the iGeneration, will leave you shaking your head.
By most accounts, Gen Z/iGen includes my current middle school students (born 2001 ~ 2003) and are purportedly the most technology-dependent generation. Hence, the moniker iGeneration or, iGen. Well, I propose a new name for today’s youth, and I propose that several of my fellow educators would agree. I’m toying with either the Mean Generation or Generation Bully. Here’s a look at why:
Cyber bullying is alive and well at the junior high school level. A few of the students at school have tried their cyber hands at bullying me on-line. And one of the students had never even been in one of my classes!
My students are nonplussed at flagrant violence for the sake of violence routine played out in front of them on a daily. Stimulants include television, heck, any visual media, computer and/or video games, society at large, and even one another. GenZ/iGen members have their video cams on speed-dial. Videos shot by a 12 year old, at school, in class are likely to go viral, especially if the videos contain fight material.
Finally, today’s generation is mean; mean to adults, mean to society, mean to themselves, and mean to each other. This school year, students have lodged formal complaints on me with accusations to include threatening to “hunt…down” one of my students (I did not) telling another student to “drop out of school” (I did not), and calling a 12 year-old girl a “b**ch, a slut, and a ‘ho” (I did not). Each complainant stated I said such things in a classroom full of other students and each complainant had several other students to corroborate the lies.
Fortunately, I come from the school of CYA (cover your a$$) and had documented incident reports so that my principal and my vice-principal had no problem believing the students were manipulative, untruthful, and just plain mean. Unfortunately, all the documentation in the world couldn’t help save me from my most recent run-in. In short, several of my students vandalized one of the tables in my classroom. They unscrewed the bolts attaching the legs to the table top and one afternoon, while teaching, I leaned on this particular table, the legs buckled, and me and the table came crashing to the ground. Not quite two months ago, and I’m still suffering debilitating back spasms. See, just plain mean.
Well, dear Readers, as I near the end of today’s post, it occurs to me that I might just be able to get behind that name iGen. Some have suggested that the ‘i’ is open to interpretation. Here’s mine:
- impetuous Generation
- indolent Generation
- iconoclast Generation
- (and my personal favorite) icarus Generation
Who knows, this may just well be the generation that flies too close to the sun. Peace, ~v.