Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is our future...

"I buy marijuana for $50 for an eighth."
"I typically buy an eighth."
"You don't carry bowls, just smoke blunts."
"I smoke it out on the intramural field every night."
"You can't get in trouble if you just smell like marijuana."
"Yes! No homework due in this class means I can finally go out on Tuesday night!"

Yes. These are direct quotes from my freshman students. This Fall, as with the past three Falls, I have been teaching the freshman introductory course at our local university.

I have been utterly surprised this year at the attitudes of my students. I am of course bothered by their lackadaisical attitudes and how many of them wait until the last minute to do their work (which results in some EXTREMELY BAD papers...some of them just do NOT know how to write...), and the fact that so many of them feel that it is ok to text while I am trying to engage them in conversation. That would not have flown when I was a student (all of 8 years ago I was a freshman). You didn't do your work, you got graded poorly. I grade my students poorly and they complain like there is no tomorrow...about the amount of work, about the fact they can't get an A...blah, blah. I just tell them I am preparing them for the classes they will encounter in college...and I hope I am right. But who knows. I feel as if things in college just keeps getting easier.

But I guess what is really surprising is the fact that my students are so open about what they do in their spare time. As I noted above, these are direct quotes from my students. They have no sense of keeping things under wraps, or that maybe it isn't the best idea for them to be talking about doing drugs (and doing them often) in front of a professor. In fact, they didn't even have a problem talking about it when a campus police officer came in to the classroom to talk about safety and campus tips (how not to get arrested ya know). Only after they blurted out the fact they frequently bought marijuana (this was after they already admitted they smoked it) did they go oops, maybe I shouldn't say that with a police officer in the room!

When did people become so open about breaking the law/doing illegal things? My parents would have kicked my butt and pulled my funding for college if they even suspected I was doing anything like these kids are doing. I can't even figure out how these parents don't know with the frequency in which these kids talk about doing it, and how long they have been doing it. What is more scary though is that some of them do know. And they make excuses for their kids/blame them getting caught on other people. Why should their little John or Suzy actually take responsibility for their actions?

I'm not dumb enough to think that students are going to come to college and never drink or do drugs (I didn't, but I am not the norm). But I would at least expect that they use a little discretion and not openly admit to people in authority about their illegal actions. This is our future. And when I talk about the number of students this applies to, it is over half of my 18 student class. These are the citizens that we are asking to take part in an election that will change the course of our we really think they understand the issues at stake here? They are out smoking dope every night!

It is frustrating to say the least. Nothing that a person says or does gets through to these students. They believe they know everything. They've gotten out of trouble (lots of times by parents getting them out) so many times that they think they are invincible. They are often times looking for an easy pass. It is painful. And I feel like so many people are encouraging this behavior rather then holding these students accountable. What exactly are we to do to change it? What the future will hold when these students graduate and become the leading generation in America, actually scares me. I can only hope when I have children that this is not their attitude. It scares me.


Yaya said...

Hmmm...yeah...sounds like a much different conversation then my preschool carpool. So sad, at what age do they turn over?
We had my husband's 17 yr old half sis visit this summer and OMG!! The texting is constant and insane. It's some sort of obsession w/ these teens these days. Oy!

Donn24g said...

You can only hope these people are not the future leaders of america. I dont get it either, they are all so disconnected. You can only hope that when the crash course called reality sets in, those that change for the better swim and the others sink.

ann ominous said...

yuck. i have surprisingly few of those kids in my survey classes this year. i'm pretty sure they're all hard drinkers, but they're not talking about it quite as freely as yours are. maybe there's hope for this generation and you just got a bad batch? the texting thing...oh my god. they're awful. i dont so much have the problem in survey because we put a clause in the syllabus that says it's technology free classroom and if they get caught texting/phoning/blackberrying then they get asked to leave and it's unexcused absence. BUT in my ONE ON ONE APPOINTMENTS students are ANSWERING THEIR PHONES!?! can you believe it??? Big Pimpin' starts playing and they whip out their phone and start chatting away to whoever it is while I sit there with my mouth wide open going "did that just happen????"

Imperfect said...

Sounds like a lot of folks I went to school with (I just graduated 10 months ago). It's amazing how students think that grades should be handed to's sad really.

Aleta said...

You hit the nail on the head, repeatedly.


It starts at home. Children get away with it and they think it's OK. If the parental unit isn't strong, the student won't be either.

My parents were strict, a lot more so than my friends' parents, but then I didn't do drugs or drink. I KNEW the consequences of such and it wasn't worth the risks or reaction from my parents.

If the parents don't lay down the law, the students won't respect it from the teachers OR the law when they get older.

It's sad, truly.... My Mom is a 5th grade teacher and some of the things that she shares, I think, "My gosh, I never even had an inkling of that when I was in the 5th grade!"

Parents aren't strict and the kids are growing up too quickly - gone are the innocent summer years and respect of elders.

It's heartbreaking.

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