As I sit here and think about the beginning of the school year and some of the challenges we will be presented with, the most immediate subject comes to mind is the use of technology.

I was reading an article one day when I was researching for my dissertation and the author was talking about the fight and the struggle educators face when in the school environment.  It  has come a long way since, I was in this level of school and for sure things have changed.  I remember, way back when, I use to carry a football around with me every where I went.  It was my life, a part of me, it was what I did in my unoccupied time.  If you took that football from me, then all of a sudden I felt incomplete and it seemed that my life was quickly coming to an end.  I remember my Mom telling me to “put that ball down somewhere, you’re not going to die!”  What?  Didn’t she know that my heart was being pulled from the socket of my soul when she told me to put the ball down?  Didn’t she?

Well it wasn’t until I was taught how to channel my emotions and to separate from carrying my football all the time to putting my hands on it some times that I learned I would make it somehow.  I had to learn that there was a proper time “when to”, and a proper time “when not to”.  Hmmmmm!

That sounds familiar?

I relate that to students and their cell phones.  Society has instilled in them that the cell phone is a necessity that is needed every minute of every day.  It is entertaining, informational, used for emergencies, etc.  But students haven’t been taught proper cell phone etiquette.  Now we as educators are fighting a fight that we can’t win.  The fight is not against the students but it is us versus society.  To win this fight, we must condition our minds to approach this battle in a different way.  We must not insist”you’d better” that they put their phones away, but assist “train” the students that proper cell phone etiquette is the best way to be responsible in social environments when using a cell phone.  Instead of making students go “cold turkey” we must slowly teach them how and when.  Once we open up their understanding, they will be more receptive to the process and understand how it relates to them being successful in this technological society.

It’s hard to believe that the new school year is just around the corner.  Seems like July took off so fast and hasn’t slowed down one bit.   The custodians are in the building getting everything ready.  The football team is in the gym getting their sweat on, and my APs are busy as usual doing what they do on a daily basis.  Teachers will be back in the building on 23 July and I know they can’t wait to get in here and start setting their rooms up.

Don’t forget that next week we will be hosting a “Meet the New Principal” day for each grade level from 8-12;

22 July for new 6th graders

24 July for new 7th graders

26 July for new 8th graders

So please come on by and lets get to know each other.  I promise, I won’t bite!

This generation is seen as the “me, myself, and I” generation concerned with “look what I can do” “look what I have done” and “it’s all about me.”  As this generation becomes a smarter generation with the evolution of technology, they continue to fall behind in other areas as they attempt to put their “stamp” on society.

Remember the 60s when Rock-n-Roll, Woodstock, dashikis’, long hair, drugs and hippies put its stamp on a generation?  What about the 70s when R&B, Soul Train, American Bandstand, bell-bottom pants, afro’s, hip-huggers and platform shoes put its stamp on a generation?  How about the 80s as the dot.com generation, the 90s with it introduction to rap music and its technology, and what about this hip hop generation?

The previous generation laid the foundation for this generation with the evolution of rap music, baggy pants, and big shoes, and a fight for what they called their freedom.  This generation has picked up on that foundation bringing hip hop to the table and an understanding that is only communicated within its own circles.  In attempting to find a signature of its own “swag”, its stamp on society, this generation identifies with its clothes, its music, its technology, and its own way of communicating.  Unfortunately, others continue to struggle in understanding facts about this generation that has caused disconnect between the two. This is a case of one generation being disconnected from another in more ways than one.

Whenever this generation is portrayed on television, more times than not, its in a negative way.  When they are seen on television, it’s someone wearing a hoodie and baggy pants either robbing a store or bank or fighting or shooting.  You see them in the news when it comes to dealing drugs, hip hop videos disrespecting their own, gangs and rape.  There is never anything in the news portraying them in a positive light.  Those are the pictures painted in the minds of one generation trying to gain an understanding of another.

Now when someone walks down the street, dressed the way their generation does, these thoughts are sealed in the canvas of our minds; a paint still wet.  We only think of the painted images in our minds as seen on television thus causing us to react the way we do.  Unfortunately this disconnect could result in this happening to any of our children walking the street at dusk or even the early dawn with a hoodie and talking on a cell phone.  This is just where we are today as a society.

We, as educators, have a dual task.  Yes, we are responsible for teaching them guided lessons and various content, but we must also be the teachers of society.  Instead of being in a tug-o-war with what they are learning in society before they even come into the classroom, we must be of assistance in teaching them to understand the relevance of what they must be in society.  We must reframe our teaching techniques from insisting to assisting and grow as social servants to all students.  Then an only then will we be able to successfully bridge the gap of this generation.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July.

From the East Hall Middle School team!