Monday, June 22, 2015

Today's Reads, Views, and Links

Millennials aren't so bad after all are they?

These kids just created a new surgical technique, a new way to instantly stop bleeding, and a way to finally clean up our oceans.

This puts the lie to this image that I've seen posted repeatedly by older millennials on Facebook.

You see the problem with my former students posting this is that I can easily remember a time when I could easily say this about them.  It's amazing what a few years out in the "real" world can do for someone, isn't it?

They should remember that before they are hypocrites and post this.

I know full well that my former teachers, bosses, and coaches could apply that very same thing to me.  It's called being young and immature.

I had no idea what it meant to "go to work."  That meant suffer through tarring roads until our first break at 9:30.  Then that meant a few minutes of freedom until the next break, which was at lunch.

I had the totally wrong attitude about work.  Now if I were to go back in time and try to tar a road, would I have a much different attitude?  Probably, but it's not like I'd actually enjoy the work.  I'd get it done.  But that's it.

I didn't really learn how to work until I found teaching - or - work that I love.  I have no problem spending 10 hours over the course of a weekend plotting out a unit or putting together a Keynote.  That doesn't seem like work to me.

But that doesn't mean I should condemn a young person for not getting lit up (the way I do when I work on a Keynote) about a job they deem as trivial, for I was just like them when I was young.

That's the job of the boss, the leader, the parent . . . try to instill a strong work ethic and passion for doing your best.

But honestly, that wasn't something I had until I began teaching, not when I was 16.


Speaking of my beloved millennials, here is an article on the 5 ways they will change the American workplace.

If you don't bother to click on the link, here is a quick rundown of the five ways.  Gen Xers and Baby Boomers . . . be afraid. Be very afraid (if you don't like millennails that is).

1.  In just ten years, they'll make up 75% of the workforce.  So hopefully, they will have gone through the same type of maturity that I went through when it came to work ethic.

2.  They will push back against traditional work norms.  Like it or not, millennials want to do work that matters . . . matters both to them and their world views.  Unlike Gen Xers (in other words, Yuppies), they want to have a positive impact on the world and in their lives, not just make as much money as easily as they can.  Employers that can't connect with millennials this way will suffer.  Gone are the days when someone will work for 35 years to have a great retirement package and a spot at the lake.

3.  Corporations will eventually change to meet the millennials' needs.  Just look at how people love to work at Zappo's or Ramsey Solutions.

4.  Corporations will see the value in meeting the psychological needs of their employees.  Old school jobs or businesses that operate on "put 35 years in and you'll have a great retirement" also spend billions on lost time due to stress and absenteeism.  If they adjust to meet the needs of the millennials (give them work that really matters and make the work environment as friendly as possible), they won't have to spend those billions.

5.  Millennials are the best version of any generation yet.  I am not making this up either -

"As a generation they are the least racist, least sexist, least homophobic, least xenophobic, most inclusive, collaborative generation," he said. "That is a beautiful thing. So rather than being looked at as some sort of martians, I am much more romantic about it. I think they are, to date, sort of the highest iteration of the modern homo sapien."

Here is an article that also makes this same point: 50 Things About Millennials That Make Corporate America Sh*& Its Pants.


I agree with this article totally: Nonacademic Skills Are Key to Success.  But What Should We Call Them?

I think this is an area that our LINC classes could really help students acquire these skills.  Certainly sports and work also can teach these.  And parents too.  And as teachers we constantly have to not only model these keys, but we have to explain how we use them and how we acquired them with our students too.

For my money, I think the second skill, grit, is the most important of them all.


I admit it. I'm a totally history geek.

One of my favorite characters from history is Julius Caesar, probably because I had to read that play six times my first year teaching and another ten times after!

Here is a video explaining his most impressive military victory.  Oh, how I wish Youtube would've existed in the old days when I still taught Caesar.


Sure, I come across this article now. In the summer.  Why didn't I find this last May?

21 Ideas to help students keep their momentum.  I'm saving these!


For a bit of levity, here is an insane video from a kid who has a death wish.  We used this in my creative writing class to write about the concept of Carpe Diem.

Mind you, this is not for the feint of heart or for those of us with a fear of heights.


As one who often leaves bad reviews of places with terrible customer service, I can relate to this young woman's frustration.

But this story reveals that there are always two sides to every story - in this case rant on Facebook - and the restaurant owner does a brilliant job calling her out about her one star review.


If only some of our local stores and restaurants cared enough to actually respond to any of the negative feedback they garner on social media.  Now, that would be progress!


If you have never heard of the "Night Witches," they are one of the most interesting - and usually unheard of - stories from WWII.  They were female pilots enlisted by the USSR to terrorize the Nazis.  And they did exactly that.

I only learned of them because I love Dan Carlin's podcast series, Hardcore History, and he has an epic hours upon hours series on the Ostfront (the eastern front, basically when Hitler decided to invade Russia roughly the same time Japan decided to bomb America).

Here is a movement to try and get a documentary made to study these brave Soviet women.


In light of the horrible massacre that occurred at a South Carolina church, there is now a call to remove the Confederate flag.  This certainly is a hot issue.

I was just visiting with a history teacher.  We came to the conclusion that as far as we are concerned, we agree with Mitt Romney (as well as Jeb Busch now) that it should come down.

I saw someone respond to Romney's FB post on this with the line "Anyone who things the Confederate flag is racist needs a history lesson."  I did some research on the discussion.  Apparently, this young man flies the flag to celebrate his brave ancestors who fought for the confederacy (the wrong side . . .  the side that supported slavery, by the way . . . but I'm a Yankee too).  This young man argued that he still has a right to wave the flag.

I think he does.

I don't think it should be displayed over the city capital or on college campuses.

Just like I think someone has a right to wave a Nazi flag, though I totally disagree with the concept and what that flag symbolizes (actually it is a bastardization of an ancient peace symbol).

So to use this young man's logic, I undoubtedly have ancestors who fought for the Germans during WWII.  Should I be able to fly the Nazi flag to honor them?

Yes, I should.  I never would though because I don't support the genocide that that flag represents.  Sound familiar to the Confederate flag issue?

Perhaps one day the Confederate flag will become viewed in the same light as the Nazi flag today.


And finally on to another controversial topic: ADHD.

I think - as one who sees dozens of kids prescribed with this throughout my time teaching - that it is far too overprescribed.

Ken Robinson talks about how it isn't uncommon for doctors to shift their treatment of something.

For example, a generation ago, if you had a sore throat often, your tonsils were taken out. I'm living proof of this.  Ask a group of Gen Xers if they have their tonsils and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with them.  Ask a group of Millennials, and you'll be hard pressed to find someone with them out.

We just shifted the focus on how we treated tonsillitis.  No need to quickly or hastily cut those suckers out.

He believes it is too popular of an option to medicate a kid.  Instead, let's make their surroundings in school more engaging.  Or - as the French do - and they don't have an ADHD problem like America does - we could approach raising our kids much differently than many do here.

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