Friday, January 23, 2009

Next Generation: Managing Employees & School Kids

There was a fantastically large response to my earlier note on Teaching Generation Y (see way below). I received a number of thoughtful responses. I will post some of them as soon as I am able to get around to it.
Here is the first posting of one of the responses that I have received. This is from an amazing Elementary school teacher (who got a degree from Stanford and has travelled the world). The rest of the note below (in Blue) is an email from her:

Dear [ ]–
Finally, a quiet moment to reply to your email!! You’ve definitely hit the proverbial nail on the head! It is funny because this year I have been trying very hard to make a strong connection with the Lifeskills on the top of report cards to employment. And, believe me, I would love to have Donald Trump on tape and I could hit the button and he would point out from the screen and say his now famous, “You’re fired!” Whether it’s listening, following directions, working as a group member, completing assignments, having your work here at school, etc. many of these kids lack the skills to be employable. We seem to have a generation of parents who are afraid to have high expectations, follow through with consequences, or hold kids accountable for their choices for fear of damaging their self-esteem. It makes me very grateful that my parents were tough on us, demanded our best, and didn’t accept excuses for our poor choices.
But we are also in a culture that is so concerned with being PC and that we shouldn’t be expected to be responsible for ourselves. Everything needs a warning label.

Whatever happened to common sense. I see kids walking around with T-shirts that say, “I’m not responsible.”
At the same time, I see a generation that doesn’t know how to interact with each other without the aid of electronics. I saw two people sitting in the airport talking to each other on their cell phones. You used to go into a coffee shop and people sat and talked with each other, even striking up conversations with complete strangers. Today, everyone is either on their laptop, cell phone, or plugged into music. My husband and I watched a family out at dinner on Mercer Island. Both children, about 10 and 12, entertained themselves with hand held games while the father text messaged and the mother talked on the phone. They went through the entire dinner time together never exchanging a single word.
So…I try to teach and tell my kids that social graces are important, eye to eye contact matters, and that people need to listen and then respond to the ideas of others with respect. Arriving on time, punctuation, please and thank you – and so much more all do matter. I am hoping that the pendulum has swung about as far as it can and that it will begin its path back to a more reasonable position. I know that every generation has struck out and done some radical things that shocked older generations. And I hope these are not just the musings of a more experienced lady!!

If you all think managing Gen Ys are tough, it will be interesting to stick around and watch Gen Ys manage the Next Generation. Promises to be Fun and Interesting.
Here is another comment on the Gen Ys Blog. This one is by a Very Distinguished Scientist (This Renaissance man clearly subscribes to and lives by the “Two Cultures” philosophy of C.P. Snow).
It's interesting that a memory for text is good for something in the real world.
I've noticed that schools in India now hardly ever ask kids to ``by-heart'' poems, still less recite them out loud, in any language.
I remember most of K Khan, by the way -- just couldn't recall the two lines ``And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river'' which I just looked up. Of course, the fact that one can look up any text one likes, practically, renders some memorisation irrelevant, I suppose.

An amazing memory indeed!

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