It’s a fact of life that schools go through a lot of changes.
The curriculum changes, as does the way teachers are supposed to teach. The decor and building structure changes too, updating the design and generally making the school safer. The rules change, sometimes based on society, and sometimes based on that one student who did something so ridiculous, a rule was created just for that.
With all those changes happening, it stands to reason that students change as well. Kids act and react differently than they did a decade or two ago.
I remember being made fun of for “still watching cartoons” in middle school because I was obsessed with anime. I couldn't find a place to fit it until college, but now there are Anime Clubs in middle schools.
Teachers have noticed a lot of changes like these, and most of them are positive.
Curious about what those changes could be, a Redditor asked:
"Teachers of Reddit, what are some positive trends you have noticed in today's youth?"
The Popular Nerds
"Nerd/geek culture is more accepted."
"At my school they are the ones with the largest friend groups"
A For Effort
"University teacher here: My students put in way more effort than I did at their age. Granted, the system has pushed them in that direction as well, but they typically have a better idea of where they want their carreer to go and are willing to put in the effort to obtain that goal. By comparison, I and my cohort mucked about a bit more."
A Little Kindness
"Students are not afraid to just be nice to each other. I teach elementary art and it is so nice when a kid who is pretty unskilled in art show another kid their work, and instead of getting laughed at (like when I was in school) kids are just so sweet and will say things like "Wow, I really love that!". I hear kids telling other kids "I think your work is beautiful" or "I really like your ideas!" and I just think of when I was in art kids made fun of my work. In general I really don't see kids being bullies as much as they were when I was a kid. I went to school in a really nice district too with few problems but I was bullied. Kids here have a MUCH worse home life than kids at my old school and while they could choose to take it out on others.. they don't. Kids help each other too. They know if a student is "special" and will try to help that student out. They'll offer to walk them to the bathroom, or help them with their drawing, or very politely tell them to be careful with things."
"My GF is a teacher and she is amazed at how uncool drinking and driving is. Kids are like "that's stupid you will kill someone..." They literally make fun of kids who do it. In my day EVERYONE drove drunk."
"Very positive change."
Neat and Clean
"My day care kids are much more likely to wash their hands than my generation was when we were their age lol"
– Deleted User
"Kids are so much neater now, once they're about 8 or 9. They pick up after themselves, are sort of organized, and don't litter when they can help it. I've even had kids at work that couldn't reach the trash can so they'll come up to the counter and hand me their trash."
"As a student currently in highschool, the big thing for our generation, at least in decent schools, is that failure isn't cool. Sure if you suck up to the teacher and obsess over studying you'll get made fun of a bit, but the kids getting Fs get made fun of a lot more. A lot of the 'popular' kids are actually really smart and get top grades. There's a general awareness that we all need to do well and a lot of aspiration for the future."
– Deleted User
Family Is Everything
"Kids are openly kind and loving regarding their parents. I had a tough football player day in class once, “I love my mom, she’s my best friend!” I see the old “Ugh my parents suuuuuuck!” mentality falling by the wayside recently."
"Yes! My 15 year old daughter blew me a kiss and waved when I dropped her off for school today."
"I remembered when my mom dropped me off at school as a teen and if she told me she loved me after I opened the door, I wouldn't say it back. I thought about that when my daughter did that and wondered if its just because she loves me so much or was I really that embarrassed to love my mom??? Lol"
Evolution Of Creativity
"Taught art for a spell a while back:"
"I know that a lot of people say sh*t like “oh these children and their all-consuming technology”, but a lot of kids are so excited about learning to make things using their devices."
"A big part of the sculpture class I taught was to make a statement using a 3D printed sculpture."
"Even take something like Minecraft, I know it’s a big meme, but it’s a huge sandbox to build things. I remember being a young teen when I came out- we would get so complex with our builds."
"Kids are learning to create in an incredibly different way. It can be really irritating when they latch onto something and run it into the ground, but they love learning new things, and creating new things, in an increasingly relevant way."
Reduction Of Bullying
"As someone who is a youth of today, ive literally never seen bullying where i live people are kind of d*cks sometimes but not bullies"
"I can agree. As I got older I noticed that kids don’t bully as much. They just leave the people they don’t like alone. When I was in high I didn’t notice any bullying. All my issues had to do with me willingly being around the wrong people."
"Edit: I’m not saying bullying doesn’t exist anymore, I’m just saying that it’s decreasing. I was bullied until high school so I know what the different forms of bullying can be like. I was excluded and made fun of. When I got to high school, people just left people like me and others alone."
"Not a teacher, but theres a group of boys in my class who befriended a boy with autism, and it's so sweet seeing him being included. He was just new to the school & it was so nice seeing them all help him out and be so kind."
– Deleted User
Too Wholesome For Words
"Being excepting of security and gender identity and mental illness"
"Real Convo I over heard in my class"
"Jock 1: hey, I think I want to be a girl"
"Jock 2: pauses"
"Me: praying for no transphobia"
"Jock 2: that's ok! When do you want me to switch pronouns?"
"Jock 1: after summer :)"
"Jock 2: what do you want your new name to be?"
Enemies To Friends
"Am in HS, I have friends I used to fight in Middle school, it's probably us being more mature but when you start to think about it its truly amazing that people you 100% despised 6 years ago are now the people you sit with at lunch"
It's Cool To Succeed
"The “popular” kids in my school all get good grades and try to be the best they can be. If a kid is failing school, other people think they’re a loser and no one would hang out with them. This pushes many kids to get good grades and accomplish their goals"
– Deleted User
Easier To Be Who You Are
"Lol I’m not a teacher but my brother is currently in middle school and it sounds like middle school kids today are way better than when I was in middle school almost 10 years ago. I was talking to him about school, and he told me about this anti-bullying PSA group project that I also remember doing when I was his age. The message that his teacher assigned his group was “It’s ok to be gay”. When I was in middle school, gay marriage wasn’t legal yet and the idea that being gay is not morally wrong was still considered an opinion. And I went to a public school, so all of our teachers were required to be politically neutral, which means that no teacher could’ve ever assigned that as a project when I was his age."
"Teachers were obviously allowed to step in if kids were getting bullied for being gay, but they couldn’t say that being gay isn’t a bad thing, so they just had to say be nice to each other. I didn’t realize it at the time because I was a kid, but in retrospect, that kind of thing teaches kids that it’s acceptable to be homophobic."
"He also told me that one of the kids in his class is gay, which I thought was awesome because it means middle school students feel safe and comfortable being openly gay in that school now. And I mean I grew up in a super liberal and educated college town, so me and most of my classmates then already believed that gay marriage should be legal by the time we were in middle school. But despite that, no one in my grade ever came out as gay while we were in middle school. And I mean, it’s no wonder, because my friends and I used to unironically say “that’s gay” as an insult. And I mean, my brother’s just a kid, so obviously I don’t know his sexuality. But he plays hockey and lacrosse, which means he’s definitely the kind of athletic white boy that would’ve been super homophobic when I was a kid lol so hearing him be nice and accepting towards other kids makes me really happy"
"When I was in middle school, the students and teachers all had a really poor understanding of gay rights. But now, it’s only been like eight years and schools are teaching “It’s OK to be gay” as a fact, not and opinion. And obviously the kid themselves are treating each other way better than when I was in middle school. So yeah, I’m really proud of him and all the other students at his school for that. I’m excited to see the world when these kids who are being raised to actually respect each other grow up."
Younger Doesn't Mean Lesser
"I work in an after care and I routinely see our older 5th graders helping, engaging, and involving the young kids, especially the kindergarteners. For example, the older kids will let the kindergarteners score a goal in soccer or allow themselves to be hit when playing dodgeball all for the sake of involving a younger kid and helping to make their experience more memorable."
One Kid Can Make A Difference
"High school teacher here. These kids know how tough the world is becoming (political divisions, climate change, lack of privacy due to ever increasing technology, etc.) and they are still optimistic about what good they can do now to make things better."
"I don’t remember being this socially aware in high school."
Growing Up Fast
"Parents are by and large sh*tty and unavailable to their children. As a result, children are becoming much more mature, much earlier. Kinda sad for their childhood but excited for their future."
Wear What You Want
"Not in High School and not a teacher, but my lil sis is a HS senior. One day a male student came to school in a dress. He was suspended by the principal (this is Texas). The next day, when the students learned, they walked out, refused to do their work, and actively made school officials feel like villians until the school issued an apology."
Eradication Of Gender "Norms"
"Im 26 and not a teacher, but another remarkable thing im noticing thats not mentioned often yet, is that the categorization of male and female behaviour and activities is blurring (good thing) too. Guys can say that something is cute now, hug eachother and go to a spa to relax for example, but if you did that during my highschoolperiod you would immediately be called
gay or weird. Girls can play videogames now or do extreme sports without being called a nerd or manly, heck its even attractive now!"
"Reading all the comments, I feel like equality is the main theme going on here. The empathy, less bullying and earlier emotional maturity can all be boiled down to equality. Hierarchical sociaties and companies are getting more and more frowned upon and I love it. I think humanity as a whole will improve immensely if this trend continues through not only this generation, but also the next and the next after that. GO YOUTH!"
"The 8 year olds I teach really make a huge deal about plastic. We watched the Blue Planet 2 episode with them and since then they have been so mindful and really want to protect the oceans"
"My 11 year old asked for reusable straws for Christmas. So yeah, they are definitely more fired up about protecting the environment than we are."
I’m beyond happy to know youth culture is evolving this way!
Do you have any trends to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.
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