You hear people (some, mind you--not all) who have been educators for a million years (and who shouldn't be anymore) say things like, "What's wrong with these kids? They didn't used to be this way!" or "Kids are so different than..."
I understand why they think this. Behaviors really are different. But kids? They're the same. They're just like you were, just like I was. The difference? Their worlds are different.
First of all, students now (even high schoolers) have NEVER lived without cell phones, internet, texting. They've had it their ENTIRE lives. Man, I remember learning how to email IN COLLEGE. And I don't feel THAT old (I'm 34).
Second of all, families are different. Divorce was becoming a big trend when I was in high school. Now it's happening SO OFTEN...or parents were never married to begin with. There are grandparents raising grandchildren, single parent homes, older siblings raising younger ones. Is there really a question of why they act differently than kids did 20 or so years ago???
Thirdly, let's face it---MEDIA! Their information is given to them the second it happens. And prime time tv? Wow. My grandfather would turn in his grave if he could hear the language used on prime time. And that started years ago...Friends (which I love) says the b word, a**, etc. all the time. And they talk about sex like it's nothing. And we wonder why our students have boundaries. When I was a kid, we did what teens do. We didn't always make good choices. People drank, smoked, had sex. *gasp!* But we sure as heck didn't talk about any of that in earshot of a teacher! These kids have no shame in saying ANYTHING, anytime, anywhere.
I get super irritated because if you get to know the kids and have a relationship with them...you see that they really are the same. They want to be accepted by their peers, they want to do well in school, they want adults to look up to, and they want rules and limits. Are they going to TELL you that? Hell no!!!!
You have to just know it and figure out how to sneak them into accepting it!