Are Intermediate Students Aliens?

I must be showing my age.

Either that or grade 7 and 8 students are really from another planet.

Granted, although it’s been over 30 years since I was 13-years-old, the students of today who are that age seem so different than how my classmates and I behaved.

Technology plays a role in this difference. Students of today appear to be more interested in texting than in communicating person-to-person. They still choose the latter method in class since cell phones are not allowed. However, once the bell rings and they are dismissed, the phones come out. In fact, I often see them texting others while walking and talking with friends.

I cannot understand the business of multi-tasking; seems like an early start to the stress level that all of us face as we get older.

The onslaught of texting has changed the way early teens talk. Their words come at me a mile a minute and I have trouble deciphering the jumbled message. Often, I need to ask for a slower translation.

The music they listen to is even more confusing. Fragments of words are spit out in rapid succession; there is a blur of words, most of which sound obscene, and I look around me to see if anyone else has caught a lewd remark. But everyone simply passes by, unblinkingly and robotic. Are they so attuned to vulgar words that they are no longer vulgar?

There is evidence of this when they talk in the classroom. Expressions such as “Damnit!” and “What the hell!” are said in nonchalant fashion. I tell those who are saying these not to be offensive. They tell me that these are not swear words. I tell them the true meanings of these expressions and then they become slightly surprised. “Really?” they ask. “It really means that?”

And then a student complained in gym class the other day that he could not participate because he had toe bites.

Toe bites? What the hell are they?



About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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