It’s obvious that today’s students’ taste in music, clothes, and technology has massively changed since 2007, and even more since 1997, but what about the way they learn? The teachers of Reddit were asked this very question, and the differences they revealed between students from each decade are both humorous and troubling.
Some educators observed positive changes, like an increase in overall politeness among young people, and the acceptance of diversity in the classroom. Others, however, noted lower self-confidence, higher anxiety, and an unhealthy dependence on technology and the Internet as only the beginning of the problems learners face in 2017.
Scroll down to find out what teachers from 1997, 2007, and 2017 said about how students have changed over each era, and if you’re a teacher yourself, add your testimony at the end!
My dad taught middle school from 1968-2004, when he retired i asked him what changes he saw in students from the beginning of his teaching career to the end. he answered; “the kids never changed. a teenager is always a teenager. the parents however, changed dramatically. they used to respect teachers and side with us in disciplinary matters, but now they think their kids are perfect and we are wrong. glad i’m getting out before it gets worse.”
’97 – “Quit passing notes”
’07 – “Quit texting”
’17 – “Are you seriously watching Netflix right now?”
Im not even a teacher, just a high school senior, but i’d like to make a comment. Us kids often hear stories about how our parents were raised. Anecdotes such as, “when we were kids, we used to leave the house after school without telling our parents where we were going or when we would be back. We would bike with out friends to a creek and hang out until 1 A.M.” – (my dad)
I bring up this example because it is so drastically different nowadays. Kids back in the 70s – 90s had much more independence than they do now. If i want to go out, i have to tell my parents where I am going, who with, and when I’ll be back. Part of the reason for this is the perceived danger of modern times. Many adults believe their generation was much safer than ours is, despite research indicating exactly the opposite. (Probably because of the media’s coverage of everything bad that goes on.)
Anyway, my point is that kids today never had the independence they needed to succeed in life. They/we are constantly relying on another person to help us out. And if you think about it, nature vs nurture… nature hasn’t changed much, but the way we are raised has drastically shifted.
In 97 you could have failed your sophomore year, done well junior, slacked off senior and gotten into an Ivy League school, in ’07 you could only slack off senior year and make Ivy. In 17 if you get a C in AB calculus while doing every other class AP you can kiss an ivy leauge school away. Also I’ve noticed a lot more kids need medication for stress, anxiety, and depression because of said stress.
Not a teacher, but many in the family (elementary level). And they say the kids are basically the same, but the parents are sooooo much worse. They’re not involved in their child’s education, blaming the teacher for poor scores despite never even sitting down and reading a book with their kid, they don’t follow through with discipline after their child misbehaves at school, the list goes on and on…
1997- Teacher: “Put your hands on the desk.”
2007- Teacher : “I’m going to call your parents.”
2017- Teacher :” Don’t call your parents please.”
1997 – “You won’t always have a calculator with you everywhere you go in life!”
2017 – “Before beginning the test, every student must disable the multi-function calculator that goes with them everywhere in life.”
I started teaching 7 ago, and in my first semester I was having lunch with an old veteran teacher of over 30 years. I’ll never forget what she told me about how education has changed in that time…
“Used to be if you failed a kid, they would go to the kid and say, ‘What the f*ck is wrong with you?’. Now when you fail a kid, they come to you and say, ‘What the f*ck is wrong with you?'”
Biggest difference is the kids used to be accountable, now we just always blame the teacher.
97 – sarcastic, grungy, smoking more cigarettes, more clique-y and edgy
07 – petty, attention starved, overwhelmed, but much nicer
17 – under so many layers of irony and memes they don’t even know who they are anymore or care. there’s no point in being creative or devolving a personality, anything you could think of has already been done.
As a college instructor, teaching all of them right now, taking those years as one year removed from HS graduation.
97: I’m taking school seriously to better myself and my career.
07: I should have not taken all those gap years, c’s get degrees.
17: Oh shit if I don’t get at least a Master’s I’m going to be made redundant by a robot.
1997: The world is my oyster. I can do anything!
2007: The world is my oyster. I can do anything! But I need to make sure I have some extracurricular activities so I can get into a good college!
2017: The world is my oyster. I can do anything! But I need to make sure I have traveled to Africa and volunteered at an orphanage, played 95 sports, be proficient in 3 languages, hire a service to edit my application, hire a service to edit my life, have an extensive social media presence, be an entrepreneur, look like I just walked out of a modeling gig, get plastic surgery to fix my flaws, not have any flaws, be different and cool, while ironically still being the same as everyone else, be pushy and entitled to make sure I get ahead and eat all organic, vegan, non-gmo, cruelty-free everything. Oh but I need to make sure I have no social skills or life skills so that when I get out into the world I am like an infant babboon.
Since I am an old fart who has been teaching during all of these years, I will give my impression. The main difference I see is in attention span and impulsivity. The 2017ers cannot focus on only one thing. If I am talking, they will be doing 10 other things. They have the attention span of a gnat and can’t sit still for love nor money. But, if I stop and ask what I just said, they can usually quote me word for word. I’ve seen an exponential increase in attention deficit and vestibular issues. But the really strange thing is they just don’t seem curious. Maybe they are so bombarded with information they don’t need to be? Where kids before would ask lots of questions, want to know and find out things, the 2017ers just seem like flat-liners who could care less. Content knowledge has been watered down because “they can just google it”, but they don’t! If I had had google at their age, I would have been in heaven. 2017ers can literally find out anything in the world they want to know at the touch of a few buttons, and they just can’t be bothered. Or can’t still long enough to do it. There’s one elementary teacher’s take.
Mom is a teacher for generally 3 to 5 year olds, I got this:
Kids are certainly more abstract thinkers than they used to be. This was a project they did about foods starting with ‘P’
97: Pineapple, Pickles.
’07: Pecan, Peanut, Potatoes, Pears.
’17: Purple lollipops, Pigs in a blanket, Pepperoni Pizza
They’re more likely to tell stories and negotiate. One kid roughly explained the concept of double jeopardy–You can’t get in trouble for the same thing twice–to a teacher he was having a conversation with. One kid said that he wasn’t hitting his classmate, but “the wind pushed him hand when he was running”.
If they have a question that you “can’t” (sometimes this means “won’t”) answer, they’ll ask you to use your phone or the computer to find the answer. It seems like they’re aware that information is very close at hand and no question doesn’t have an answer. They don’t take “Just because” or “No reason” at face value anymore.
’97: after high school I can go to college if I want to or not, and easily find a job either way
’07: after high school I need a college degree but it’s going to put me in serious debt and my job prospects are low
’17: I think I want to go to college, but I don’t know what for, and I really don’t want to go unless it’ll lead directly to a high paying job because my debt will be so high.