Have our expectations went down for teenagers today as opposed to 20, 50, 100 years ago? Well, ya, it sure seems like it.
Children used to hit puberty, become adults and contribute to society through work, etc. Now, children are turning into pre-teens who change into teenagers, who morph into late-teens, who shift into young adults, followed by early adulthood, and in drastic cases you never reach full adult status but become the monster that is the manbaby. And not the hilarious kind! The sad kind where someone for whatever reason never grew up, but instead just got bigger.
Is this the result of a society lowering its expectations to allow the adolescent years stretch super-extra-long into a persons’ twenties or thirties? I would say so. Now I’m not saying at the age of 13 kids should be working in acid mines, but I think we went a little crazy with the “let them just be kids” mentality and in the process dropped the bar too low.
I’m not a crotchety old senior citizen complaining about those darn kids, I’m an aspiring teacher wanting the best for kids, and a big part of that is high expectations. Research is stinking consistent that higher expectations result in higher performance. Awesome! High expectations = High performance. Let’s do that! Unfortunately, when this is played out in school, it can be pretty off-putting to kids. Having a teacher who “expects that they don’t talk, listen to him all the time and get straight A’s.” Probably not the best way of going about it. But daily motivating and encouraging students to a point where they believe that through hard work, they can do something, on their own, at a high level! That would be pretty awesome. Helping students see that they are capable of so much more than the status quo can be such a powerful realization.
Give your students the tools they need to succeed and push them darnit. Help them see that high expectations aren’t oppressive, but freeing. They can transform you into more than you thought you could be. If your students see that you honestly feel this way, and truly care about them succeeding, I think there’s a greater chance they will. Don’t leave them scraping by, measured against lowering expectations. Hold that bar up high!