I was born to be an old man. Some people dread getting older, getting wrinkled, and getting cranky. Not me. I understand why they are called the golden years. In order to make the most of my old-manhood, I have decided to practice. This rant is the result.
I recently started in a new teaching position, and on the first day of the new semester (and my first day on the job), my students were required to fill out “Student Data Sheets.” These were pretty basic, asking for both student and parent contact info. I couldn’t believe the number of students who asked permission to take out their cell phones to get the necessary data. I understand not knowing your parent’s cell phone number when you are 15 and have your own phone with your folks programmed into it, but not knowing your own home phone number?! It seems trivial, but I think this is indicative of a dangerous trend.
Technology has made the storage and retrieval of information so easy that there is no need for any basic memorization anymore. Why read a book when there is Wikipedia or Sparknotes online for free? Why memorize a poem or a passage when you can just search for it on your iPhone?
Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to find just about anything on the internet. What worries me is that we are producing generations of young people who have no conception of what it means to analyze, memorize, and synthesize information because they simply don’t have to. These blasted kids absolutely refuse to read assigned literature. It makes much more sense to them to read a summary that tells them the gist of whatever the assignment is, and finding such a summary is now a piece of cake. That serves them well for the present. Someday they will need the ability to think without internet assistance. What happens then? I’ll tell you what happens: they will hold me up in line at Luby’s because they won’t have the mental capacity to choose between lemon meringue and key lime pie (the answer is both).
I don’t know how to combat this problem. I might even be overreacting. I just can’t help but think that the technologies of convenience in schools today will become the technologies of dependence in all parts of society tomorrow.
Here’s what we’re going to do. First, you kids get off my lawn. Then, turn off the devil music. Next, pull up your pants. Finally, go read a book.
Anyone who comments gets an imaginary butterscotch.
Norma Boren said:
I’m laughing and crying at the same time! I agree with everything you said. Students are mentally lazy and want the answers given to them. This is particularly scary when it comes to making political decisions. The answers to difficult problems are not always easy to solve. A person has got to have critical thinking skills to be successful in all aspects of life. If you require your students to “read” and be graded over their reading assignment, then you are going to have a lot of “F’s.” What comes next? : parents complaining, principals wanting to know why you have so many students failing; etc., etc., etc. Teachers dumb down the curriculum as well as their students. But, everybody is happy because their little darlings graduated from high school and the teacher keeps his job. I remember when my husband taught an introductory course in college government. He required his students to know the Bill of Rights and tested over them. Half of them failed it and he couldn’t understand how that was possible. These were college students! I actually felt better as a teacher after that. I always assumed my failure was b/c I was a boring teacher. But, Jim Boren was the one of the most interesting people alive. If he couldn’t get college students to do an assignment, then it wasn’t entirely my shortcomings as a teacher. I told you that teaching would be an eye-opening experience. If you find the answer, let me know.
JT Norwood said:
It’s the same in the Army. In the short 5 years that I have been in I have seen every technical manual for the Apache go from being on paper to being on a computer. Along with that, the ability of soldiers to read and learn the proper way to conduct maintenance has decreased tremendously. On top of that, all those kids who are a product of a “dumbed down” educational system the Mrs. Boren referred to have managed to trickle down to me and now I have to deal with the incompetence of America, so I hope you can find a way to fix it…
I still can’t believe you put this picture on here…
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Heath Rekus said:
The premise from the CAN-SPAM law that became effective on
January 1, 2004, is Your email’s “From,” “To,” and routing information ‘
such as originating website and email has to be accurate and
identify the individual that initiated the email. Gmail – Gmail
is internet based e-mail system from the net giant Google.
However, no all encompassing anti spam law may be passed yet.