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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Bulletin Board Fodder for Unengaged Students

I just pounded this out using Powerpoint,the springboard of small minds everywhere.

This comes from The Joy of not Working, the world’s most constructive manual for slackers, written by Ernie Zelinski. Zelinski,at age 29,asked his boss in an engineering division of a Canadian public utility for three months time off,and was denied, as you would expect. Zelinski quit his job and vowed never to work full time again.

My motivation is that I see a consistent lack of engagement in my students,especially the boys. It doesn't concern me when kids aren't really engaged in their Math studies. After all,high school Algebra I is not the most seductive material in the universe. What does concern me is the passivity some kids seem to apply to every aspect of their lives. Thirteen is a rather young age for ennui to by the major force in life. Ergo, I attempt to influence (OK, I nag) via the bulletin board. I often posts clippings from comic strips, so the little lords and ladies actually look at the board.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Anonymous said...

Good observations. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. Last Thur, was talking with a friend of Ricks. He has a son Rachel’s age who is driving cab. Seemed very similar; bright kids who like doing math for fun but have not connected with any real goals. Same story exists with most of the kids I hear about in their 20s (the ‘millenials’).
To all of “us” boomers it seems different from what we were in our twenties. But, I wonder how the people who dropped out of college to start communes, or used their law degrees to open community law clinics, or spent a year traveling Europe, seemed to the generation who lived through WWII and the depression.
I think one huge, giant difference is that their methods of intragenerational communication are invisible to us. That, coupled with the lack of an overt generation gap, makes them seem more passive than they may be. When we were young, our music was accessible in 3 ways – you could buy an LP, buy a ticket to a concert, or listen to an FM radio station. All of them were clearly visible to our parents. We communicated to the masses by starting underground papers – which really weren’t underground as they were widely accessible in stores. Our generational acts of defiance made the 6pm news – remember Chicago 1968 & “The whole world is watching.” Our generational excesses were tossed in our paren’ts faces, even if they neither understood nor approved of it.
Things are different now. “Free-speech zones” (an oxymoron if I ever hear one) and corporate ownership of media ensure that many things are just not publicized or well known. This generation exploits the internet in a way we can’t figure out or follow. They are using Twitter where we hung up a poster; they don’t show up in polls because they don’t have land-line phones. They share things via facebook and myspace and have gatherings that are invisible to us.
Frankly, I don’t have a clue if they are actually passive or if their activities and interests are completely hidden from us. I also think there is a much larger generational divide than we realize. Our generation was noisily and obviously determined to be different from out parents. The millenials are much quieter and non-confrontational – maybe it’s spending so much time in front on PC screens – but they just go about their business without making a big deal of it. They seem to have taken Tim Leary to heart –they really are tuned in, turned on and dropped out.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

I would love to see my students choose how they want to live, and then go and do it. I hope that's what some of them will head toward.

I certainly see a generation gap,since I am usually noticably older than the parents,whom I foten don't understand either.

Possibly one reason we don't hear much about a new generation gap is because this time many of our peers in the parents' generation aren't really even trying to listen. They too are taking the easy way out, by not listening if the volume isn't deafening.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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