By IPLI Mentor, Bruce Miller, Retired Principal from Brandywine Elementary School
After I announced my retirement last spring (41 years in education and 34 as an elementary school Principal), I was asked several times by younger educators, parents, and friends, “How have kids changed since you began your career as a teacher in 1974?”
I usually started out by sharing one of my favorite quotes. “Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.” I would then ask who they thought said the quote. Doesn’t it sound like something that a frustrated educator or politician would say in the 21st century? The quote is actually from Socrates from about 390 BC. So you see, kids haven’t really changed, and the view of adults who don’t really know them hasn’t changed much either.
Personally, I don’t think that kids today have truly changed at all. They have a lot more worldly knowledge than 40 years ago…thanks to the liberalization of what they can see on television, video games, and the internet (all of which could be controlled by their parents if they would learn to say “NO”, but that is another article), but deep down inside kids haven’t changed.
They still want to learn and behave to the best of their ability. They still want to be loved and cared for by trusted adults, and they want to feel like they belong, whether by a “home family” or a substitute “school family” if the trust and security of a “home family” is not available.
Look deeply into their hearts and you will see that “No,” kids haven’t really changed.