Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Self-esteem comes from the self doing something worthy of esteem."

So, my dad sent me this article about why the generation that is currently in college/entering the workplace has such a sense of entitlement, and I found it a fascinating topic after teaching those kids during their formative years. I don't remember seeing this problem when I taught in Raleigh, but I was teaching in a lower income Title 1 school at the time and perhaps that would account for the difference. It was upon my move to Texas when I learned about the yuppie world that I began to see the change in the attitudes of kids and their parents.

Suddenly everything became about how a student felt about themself. How might negative report card comments damage their self-esteem? Would having winners and losers in PE games hurt their self-worth? How would it make a kid feel if all the other kids but them raised their hands and everyone knew that they didn't know the answer? Are report card grades really fair? What if a kid got an F and quit trying? Shouldn't we have something for the kids who didn't make the honor roll? What's going to motivate them to keep on trying? These are some questions that I have personally heard in staff meetings and professional development sessions.

These are the questions that I think have led to the demise of the current college-going generation. The stories that I've heard Eddie tell are deplorable. These are adults. Adults attending college on the brink of professional careers. I'm really curious to know how the professional world views these kids as they enter their work field. Do they suck it up and get on with it, even with a tough learning curve? Or do they ask for special privileges and have their mommy call their boss to make excuses for them? I must know.

It all starts at home. Even the school end of it has come into being because of pressure from these enabling parents who can't bear for their kids to learn a darn life lesson once in a while. I don't see where being over-protective of your kid gets you. I used to think, when I taught, that maybe I didn't understand because I didn't have children. Well, I have one now and I still don't get it. I don't want my kid to be dependent upon me for their basic needs. I don't want my kid to not know how to solve his own problems. I certainly don't want to talk to my kid's college professors for him.

What happened to the days when parents always sided with the teacher? When I was a kid, I was terrified of my teachers. I got in trouble one time: second grade, Mrs. Simpson. I didn't put my name on my paper and she threw it in the trashcan. Then she wrote my name on the board for not turning in my work. I had to dig through the trash to find my paper and I had trouble identifying it because I was crying so hard, probably terrified that my parents would find out and I would feel terrible. You know what would happen to Mrs. Simpson today? First, the child would call their parents on their cell phone from school. Then the parents would call the principal and demand to speak to her directly about Mrs. Simpson. Then Mrs. Simpson would be called to the office while she is trying to teach to be reprimanded for doing what she did. Then it would go in her permanent file, which would be reported back to the parent. The student would then be relieved of all accountability and given a 100 (if the school has grades, that is) for their work.

"Self-esteem comes from the self doing something worthy of esteem."

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