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Relationships

April 17, 2019

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Generation to Generation

New Subset of Generation Z (ages 0-6): Gwen Baumgart (Kindergartener)

Q: Do you use technology?
A: We have an iPad just to play games on at school. We have this game where they show math facts and it’s either addition or subtraction.
Q: Do you know how to work the iPad easily?
A: Yeah, because my teacher has things that make it easy.
Q: If you had a choice, would you do your homework on paper or iPad?
A: iPad because you can switch to games. That’s why we use paper. My teacher doesn’t want us to use iPads all day.
Q: Do you watch a lot of TV?
A: A lot. We wake up in the morning and we rush straight downstairs to watch TV. My favorite show is Kim Possible.
Q: Do you like playing outside or watching TV more?
A: Watching TV.
Q: Looking at generations, do you think your parents are very different from your grandparents?
A: Yeah. They do stuff differently. My grandpa likes to watch football, golf, and some other stuff like that. My parents like to watch the news. Just the news. But my dad likes to watch racing and and basketball when my grandpa’s over.

Generation Z (ages 7-22): Ian Taraszewski (Junior)

iGen is a generation that is more accepting than ever before, but also stands firm in their beliefs and has moved society more towards diversity, inclusion, and working together. I think technology characterizes my generation, and because of this we might be seen as lazy and dependent. This isn’t entirely true and I think we’re able to use the conveniences of modern technology while also working hard, which will ultimately lead the world to become exponentially more advanced than before.
Q: What 

do you think of your generation?
A: I feel like my generation is a good mix between Millennials and Gen X. We are accepting of other generations, but we are also solid in our own and share our thoughts without being afraid of other people’s opinions about us.
Q: Do you find any truth in stereotypes associated with your generation?
A: Because we are the first generation that really grew up with modern technology, we are seen as more… not necessarily lazy, just used to having technology in every aspect of our lives. I think the stereotype of having uncertainty about the future also makes sense because the job market is going to change so much between now and when we actually have to get a job/choose a career. It definitely makes it harder to say exactly what we want to do now.
Q: How do you view technology and how does it affect your daily life?
A: I love it and I think it plays a huge role in my life. I think it plays a role in everyone’s life; even people that say that they’re not into technology often still have a phone, a computer, and an iPad. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m super attached to technology, but it’s definitely something I couldn’t live without.
Q: What significant events have happened in your lifetime and how did your age or generation impact your experience of the event?
A: I think all of the school shootings in my lifetime have characterized my generation in terms of how we respond to tragedy. Following Columbine and Sandy Hook, the Parkland massacre this past year was a huge deal. I think my generation is focusing a lot more on giving school shootings media attention in an attempt to make something happen. We have experienced less foreign terrorist attacks and more violent events that have stemmed from inside the country.

Millennials (ages 23-38): Kelsey Blum (Teacher):

Overall, I have a very optimistic view of Generation Z. I think this generation is more socially aware and politically engaged than my generation was at their age, which is refreshing and inspiring. Technology and social media have drastically changed the world that Gen Z finds themselves coming of age in and I think there are both pros and cons to this—particularly since this is what they have always known. I do worry about screen time, responsible and respectful technology use, and the ability to unplug and connect with others in more authentic ways. However, I also think that this generation will accomplish amazing things with the platforms that are available to them. Because they’ve grown up in a world of ever-evolving technology, I think they are able to adapt, embrace change, and really see creative solutions to some of our long-standing societal issues. There are times where I find myself thinking “well, back when I was a kid” or “oh man, kids these days,” but my gut feeling is that “kids these days” are going to make this world a much better place.
Q: What do you think of your generation?
A: It’s hard for me to categorize my generation. I think some of it is the term Millennial. When I was in my twenties, I kind of identified with it; but now reflecting on it I kind of just associate that with being in your twenties and figuring out life.
Q: Do you find any truth in stereotypes associated with your generation?
A: Some of the stereotypes are that we are lazy, a little bit self-centered. I think there is absolutely a degree of that, but then I also think: isn’t that pretty much what every older generation says about the next generation? We graduated college with a lot of student loan debt at a time when the economy was not doing well. So some of those things, like moving back home, were just people trying to figure things out.
Q: How do you view technology and how does it affect your daily life?
A: I think we’ve really embraced technology, but there are just some differences, like not having it at all points in our life. I’ll talk about Snapchat and my students are like “you’re on Snapchat?” I’m like “yes, I’m on Snapchat.” But then I’ll see them take pictures of their forehead or the carpet and I don’t understand. A really interesting component is how we’ve kind of evolved as technology has evolved; that’s unique and specific to us.
Q: What significant events have happened in your lifetime and how did your age or generation impact your experience of the event?
A: I believe I was in seventh grade when 9/11 happened. I remember watching on the TV in one of my classes. I think that’s the age when you’re kind of in your own bubble and you get that something big is happening, but you don’t have the full historical and global understanding. So my response was just that is was super scary and wrong.

Generation X (ages 39-54): Mike Schumacher (Teacher)

In 28 years of teaching, I have seen a lot of fads, styles, and buzzwords that have come and gone. Tight, phat, dope, dank, mint, sick, nasty, rad… the list goes on of all the words that students have used over the years. In the end, the clothes and words may change, but kids are kids. Sony Walkman, pagers, flip phones, iPods, airpods. The technology changes. Each group of kids brings a new personality. Some walk through the door carefree and happy. Others walk in with the weight of addictions, trauma, anxiety, or confusion. It doesn’t matter what year it is or what the latest trend is. The similarities far outweigh the differences when comparing generations.
Q: Do you find any truth in stereotypes associated with your generation?
A: I don’t put a lot of stock in the stereotypes. I don’t think all Baby Boomers are the same, I don’t think all Millennials are the same, and I don’t think all of Gen X are the same. I think I’m vastly different from a lot of my friends and I think I’m vastly similar to a lot of other friends, so I have a hard time answering whether I see that those stereotypes hold true or not.
Q: How do you view technology and how does it affect your daily life?
A: Technology is wonderful. It’s also a wonderful source of stress and frustration. I try to use it when I see value; I try to avoid it when I think it causes stress. Sometimes avoiding it puts off the stress until later, and then it ends up happening anyway. It’s hard to keep up. I don’t know if that’s a generation thing or if that’s just a human thing.
Q: What significant events have happened in your lifetime and how did your age or generation impact your experience of the event?
A: I was teaching in 2001 when I saw a bunch of people gathered around a television. I walked over and another teacher told me that an airplane had just hit the World Trade Center. We assumed it was an accident until the second one hit; then, of course we knew it was not an accident. When the space shuttle disintegrated, I was at WHS as a student watching it in the cafeteria wondering what was going on. I was in elementary school when Ronald Reagan was shot. You process those things differently when you’re a little kid versus when you’re an adult; you don’t understand political implications.

Baby Boomers (ages 55-73): Kevin Johnson (Teacher)

My thoughts on iGen are a mixed bag of astonishment and bewilderment. My students are incredibly polite and courteous, much more so than the students in their desks thirty years ago. Not a day, or block for that matter, goes by without a student saying “thank you” at the end of the class. They are highly focused on the future and have clear visions where they wish to go. I expend very little energy in attempting to motivate them as they have plenty of agency. However, along with all this focus and conscientiousness, I see a lot of stress and anxiety. There’s never a moment of solitude in their life. No space to breathe. I wish they could all ditch their phone this summer and take a road trip with their besties for a couple of days. The iGens do need to experience this world outside of the auspices of their parents and the school. Make some mistakes, take the wrong turn, get lost for a while.
Q: Do you find any truth in stereotypes associated with your generation?
A: It’s mixed. Obviously the stereotypes that come to mind are kind of the sex and drugs and revolution kind of stuff. There was the stereotypes of hippies, of folks with really long hair just stepping out of society all together. That was the exception, not the rule to the Baby Boomers. But the sex stuff is spot on because of the technology of the time; the birth control pill came around in 1965, and so for the first time in human history you could reliably have sex and not procreate.
Q: How do you view technology and how does it affect your daily life?
A: I’ve been using computers since I started teaching in ‘88 as a means of presentation and data entry. The other business like social media I don’t use. I mean, I have a Facebook but it’s basically for my wife to post pictures. But beyond that I don’t seem to find any utility in it. I find more recently that people want teachers to use technology for the sake of technology. I think students are less comfortable with doing a test on an iPad. For myself, I think I’m successfully avoiding.
Q: What significant events have happened in your lifetime and how did your age or generation impact your experience of the event?
A: Well certainly Vietnam was an existential threat—just by virtue of a draft number I could have ended up overseas. 9/11 was a wake up call on how vulnerable we were as a nation. I was in the hallway with my students when the announcement came on: ‘Teachers, you may want to turn on your monitors, there’s been a second accident at the World Trade Center.’ We weren’t notified of the first accident. I had students crying because they had relatives in New York City. This was before cell phones were popularized to the extent that they are now, so students were running to the office to make phone calls. The first thing I thought was that this was my generation’s Pearl Harbour.

Silent Generation (ages 74-91): Bob Ellis (Retiree)

The iGeneration is really a wonderful group of kids. They are not very self absorbed; they are more willing to share what they’ve got. I deal with my granddaughter on pretty much a daily basis, and it’s wonderful. The extent to which she absorbs technology and the lack of resistance to different things that come out is great. If a new phone comes out, she’d be thrilled to have it.
Q: Do you find any truth in stereotypes associated with your generation?
A: The stereotypes with our generation is that we are old people, opinionated, and reminiscent of the “good old days.” In terms of the stereotype that we value family more than most generations, my dad was in the military during the war and he was gone most of the time so the family thing was really just my mom. The patriotism stereotype was existent but not really emphasized.
Q: How do you view technology and how does it affect your daily life?
A: You can either reject it or you can accept it. We have a computer at home. I don’t have a phone, but my wife does. I used to have a pager for a number of years 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After awhile you get deterred by that; you’d rather not be anywhere near it. I would get paged in the middle of the night, weekends, and holidays, so the first day I retired it I got rid of it and that was the end of that.
Q: What significant events have happened in your lifetime and how did your age or generation impact your experience of the event?
A:The Vietnam war was pretty significant. I was drafted into the army in ‘66 and served in different places. In terms of 9/11, I remember working the day that it happened. They brought a television into the office and reported on a plane having gone into the World Trade Center. When it first happened, everybody thought it was an accident and that it couldn’t happen again; but when another one went into the tower. It was a pretty significant thing because people didn’t think that America could be harmed, and 9/11 dispelled that and made it a global situation. It was just sad.

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