Monday, February 22, 2016

Teaching Tip #109

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #109
Millennials.  Love ‘em. Hate ‘em.  Love ‘em OR hate ‘em.  Love ‘em AND hate ‘em.  Take your pick.  But like it or not they are the largest generation of American kids ever and now they’re in college and the workforce.
That’s how old I’ve become.  I’m no longer teaching millennials.  I’m teaching whatever is the next generation.  Generation Z?
Still, I think we can glean a lot of the generation of our current students (whatever it is going to be called) by looking at the previous generation, the beloved millennials.
This article from Forbes, delves into a massive study that was done on millennials in the workforce.  The next few tips will focus on what this article gleaned from that study.
Finding #1 - Millennials don’t think workers should be expected to stay with an employer more than a year.
How this relates to teachers - Luckily for us, we get our students a year at a time (sometimes less if you teach in the block system as we do), so this really could help us.
Now those of us who are Gen Xers and Baby Boomers (those of you who have not retired yet), find this quite striking.  But I was told when I was hired that I was probably the last generation to work at one single job or place my entire career (if I played my cards right, which, God willing, I have so far).
The take away for me is that millennials like change.  And I don’t blame them.  Many millennials feel this way simply because they saw what happened to their parents’ jobs.  Many talk about seeing their fathers pledge their loyalty to a company for 25 years and then see it go bankrupt and see everything they sacrificed for go to waste.  So they reason, why should I do that?
I can’t blame them.
But I do think that thinking like that is dangerous.  It can lead to chronic job hopping.
As a teacher I know I need to find ways to teach the millennials and Generation Z grit.
Grit - as I define it - is just the ability to suck it up and get shit done.
I work on this through the drafting process of all of our papers.  We have deadlines for everything - rough drafts and then final drafts.  I have to be on my students all the time to meet those drafts, even if it means them staying up well past one in the morning to get their drafts done.
Once they get in the habit of getting their shit it (and that’s a pretty big if), then I try and share information and skills with them to help them build up wiser study habits.
One thing I will do more next year is ensure that they are writing during class.  Donald Murray believed adamantly that writing was just like exercising or work.  You just have to show up and do it.  He dispelled all of that “waiting for inspiration and writer’s block” crap.
So I work hard on that with my millennials and Gen Z students and pray that some of those skills and habits will stick with them as they transition into the workforce, where they - hopefully - will be able to grind out a job beyond just one year.

No comments: