Fernando: The students today

GUESS who greets first when a teacher and a student meet on the hallway today; it's the teacher. Well, do not be surprised. You're in the generation of headset-covered ears and cyber-savvy teens. Try to compare generations. There is just a wide gap in values orientation between students these days and the pre-millennium teens. The question is this; what kind of students do we have now?

Most students today are argumentative. You can't point out their fault without getting back excuses. They argue on everything. It's unclear whether this is because they are more aggressive now or they just don't see authority the same as before.

Before, teachers are the face of authority. Students keep quiet when being corrected. They accept their faults in humility. Now, it has definitely changed. Whatever you tell them, they always have something to say in return. Do not expect them to keep quiet when being reprimanded. When you point out their mistakes, they blame people or situations. Argument is their way of finding their way out. It is their means of vindicating themselves. The sad thing is sometimes, they do not need to argue. They only need to accept their mistakes and promise to try their best not to do them again.

There is an "I don't care" attitude among them. Whether it is insensitivity, indifference, or the result of being in a technological world, there is something eerie with this behavior. What is wrong with students not getting the idea that they are not the only people in the world? It does not make them boring when they observe silence when passing a classroom or a faculty especially when the teachers are in a meeting.

Sometimes I would only look at students when they're disrupting, like talking to a classmate or scribbling their cellphones, hoping them to realize my implied message. Yet, in some moments, I would end up holding my head, sigh with disbelief, and wish that I'll not lose control. They do not care. They are not bothered that their teachers might collapse in an instant. Perhaps they would not even notice if their teacher faints.

They are callously expressive. Teachers should not be shocked when there are students throwing jokes to them that even their co-teachers would not even dare to crack. The hard thing is most teachers are conservative. This is when the clash between students and teachers begins. They were raised in two different generations and there they are in one classroom. Teachers must adjust and students must be willing to learn for the learning to take place. They express themselves as if others are deaf. They talk as if they own the street. They converse as if shouting is the new way of talking. They shout as if yelling is a music.

They are adventurous. They love to try new things even if it poses great risks. It does not matter if the outcome is negative. They just want to blend in. Many get attached more to their friends than their family. Few reasons for this is that their parents are abroad, their parents are not living together, or their parents do not care anymore.

They don't get serious. Sometimes, you hold back whether to scold a student or not. But you would be petrified that even when you reprimand them, they respond with a grin.

Students today are products of a different context. What is rude for us before may no longer be disrespectful to them. Knowing something about them however gives us an idea how to deal with them. Perhaps it makes us more open-minded or understanding. We agonize with the idea that they don't respect us because of their frankness. Maybe this change of behavior is not our fault but the consequence of a fast-changing world. For many of us, their attitude, is a deterioration of values but for them it is not. It is just how we look at it that makes the difference.
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