Today I deal with a new mindset. Most (not all) students need constant reminding that they are not to talk, text, listen to music, or play with their cell phones, i-pods, or laptops in class. Every day, I must constantly remind them that their education comes first and that they are paying top dollar for tuition. When students miss information because they are too busy gabbing with their friends, they interrupt me and demand that I repeat it for them.
This is just the beginning. Now students feel they can voice their opinions at any time that they want as well. If they don't like an assignment, they very forwardly ask, "Why do we have to do this?" and sometimes they make remarks out loud in class like "This assignment's stupid!" or "I don't understand why we have to do this anyway. I'm not doing it!"
In some cases, their reactions remind me of my two year old. However, instead of taking an all out tantrum because they don't have the vocabulary to express themselves, they use their words to attack, be cutting, and show disrespect.
In the long run, their grades resemble the effort they chose or didn't choose to put forth in this class, but there is something about this generation that really, truly concerns me. That one thing is their lack of kindness.
A few weeks ago, I asked a student if he wouldn't mind standing up on his chair to turn on the video projector, which was mounted to the ceiling. He was sitting beneath it, and I couldn't stand up on the chair because I was wearing a dress. He very pointedly answered, "No. You do it!"
I looked around the room and asked if someone would volunteer, but everyone remained silent. This mean student had set the bar as to how everyone else was going to react. If he wasn't going to help me, then they certainly weren't going to do it either.
Embarrassed by the situation (and quite honestly shocked), I offered extra credit. Imagine. I offered extra credit just so that someone could show some kindness and compassion! At this point, I finally had a few volunteers, but did I really have to go to this extreme? Do students today feel like they are not going to help someone else unless they know they'll get something out of it?