Teachers Explain Which Generation Of Students They Liked Teaching The Most
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In the end teachers are just like parents... there is always a favorite. The truth stings but the truth is real. Some kids (humans) are just easier than others, or some are smarter, ad infinitum. I have a ton of friends, great friends, best friends.... and I love everyone but there is a hierarchy. it's just always best to learn how to not show it or not be so blatant.

Redditor u/stock_rocket_value wanted to hear from educators about which students left the best impressions by asking... Teachers of reddit, What generation did you like teaching most? (80s, 90s, 00s) Why?

Teachers who have been in the business for the long haul have witnessed worlds collide and societies change, at rapid pace. And how each group of students adapt will always leave an impression. And some impressions standout more than others. Case in point...

Adults Suck

amy poehler pictures GIF Giphy

My mom has been teaching for about 25 years. She says students haven't changed. Parents have.


For the Kids

My girlfriends mom is a middle school teacher and she mentioned that kids are way more compassionate today, but they drastically lack social skills.


That makes sense, I tend to think that happens because the students spend so much time listening to people talking to their phone about their fears and insecurities but are accustomed to students volunteering that information.


For the Hungry

I can't offer what my favorite science teacher told us in regards to why he chose to keep teaching for so long. He was in his 70s and had been teaching since he was in his 20s.

(I'll quote him as best as I can remember) "The kids change, the clothes change, the attitudes change. The science changes.

I lived through times when women couldn't learn science like men and when people refused to teach people because of the colour of their skin."

The one thing that doesn't change is the hunger for knowledge. I get new children every year who I truly enjoy teaching. Some kids don't want to learn but there are always the special few that find wonder in science.

I continue teaching for those kids. The ones who find the wonder and joy behind science. There are more and more of you each year and it truly fills me with joy"

So I'm guessing his favourites were the kids in his last teaching year 2008 when he died.

In the case of our food tech teacher she hated all children equally.


Kids Today

Yeet GIF by memecandy Giphy

I'm still a new teacher, but what I've really enjoyed so far is using slang around students. Saying "Yeet" gets a completely different reaction from 10th graders (eye rolls) and 5th graders (glee) and I love either one.


At Last... Evil!

University Prof here - when I started teaching in the early 00's, students still got even my most obscure Simpsons and 80's film references. By the late 00's, I had nothing left to reference. By the early 2010's my kid had reached adolescence, so I had new material, but it really wasn't mine, and the culture had splintered so much that my Rick and Morty references only hit about 30% of the class. Lately I just stopped trying, and became that old, out-of-touch Prof; I lived long enough to become the villain.


Sometimes it's all about the small details, and often it's about the parents. So maybe some adults reading this chain should take some notes. Those educators are giving free advice... take it. Let's hear some more.

Great Graphics

My wife teaches Graphic Design which has become nearly completely a digital pursuit over the past 25 years. She has remarked that 10 years ago her students would instantly catch on and often be teaching her things about how the [fairly specialized/data hog] software she uses in class works [key board shortcuts/architecture understanding].

In the past couple of years she increasingly sees students who have near zero computer experience and are afraid of having to learn/use software.

She has come to realize there are many students whose "computer" experience is using their phone for social media.


In Northern Alberta...

I taught in the late 70s, early 80s in northern Alberta. The nice part about being that early in my career, plus in northern Alberta, was that you could pretty much do whatever you wanted. My kids found an injured duck on the playground and we brought it into the classroom and spent weeks nursing that duck back to health. As the duck grew stronger, he would do these practice flights in our classroom to the point where he would do a couple of laps around the room and my kids wouldn't even get excited about it.

Later in that same year we grew hydroponic tomato plants that went from floor to ceiling and were able to harvest tomatoes in the middle of winter. Man, that was a great year! Pretty sure you couldn't do most of that in a grade one classroom these days.


Oh Millennials...


Devices and helicopter parenting, which doesn't mean parents who are intensely concerned about their children's futures, but parents who never leave their damn kids alone.


I'm a millennial and have only taught Zoomers but yes, sooooo many helicopter parents. They text their kids in the middle of class, call them, everything. It drives me nuts.


Good Hearts

In my mind kids have always been good at heart, but society and their upbringing is what ultimately shapes or corrupts them. Unfortunately, I think more kids nowadays have mental health issues since they unconsciously compare themselves to their peers. The difference is 20+ years ago kids only compared themselves to the few hundred kids in their school. Nowadays, they are comparing themselves to the millions of kids they see online.


"out of date"

robin williams thank you GIF Giphy

Teaching in university has been interesting. On one hand, I enjoyed the 90s because there was still not a ton of technology. Sure there was more manual work but I enjoyed it.

As for students, one of the things I've noticed is that my cultural references have absolutely tanked. I was teaching a Philosophy Ethics 100 course and literally NO ONE got my reference to the Matrix or Pulp Fiction or well... anything. It was the first time I felt that internal twinge of being "out of date" and realizing I was teaching 17-18 year olds who were being BORN when that movie came out.

I still love the job though. :)


In the Family

I'm not a teacher, but both my mother and sister are.

They stated two big differences.

  1. Social Media changed how kids behave. A lot. Way more bullying is done online now and less of it is physically violent.
  2. Certain trends don't really exist anymore. The punk/emo stuff from the 2000's isn't present today, but there is a stronger group of Gamer/Internet kids that play Fortnight and use TikTok. Also, there are way more outspokenly gay students. howmydictate

Be OK! 

I worked with kids for a few years in the mid 2010s and there was a big push for gay acceptance and pride.

Well, one day, the whole group of 10 year-old boys came out as gay. All of them.

My boss was genuinely considering an "It's OK to be straight" campaign, with the best intentions.


All the Years

97 - sarcastic, grungy, smoking more cigarettes, more clique-y and edgy.

07 - petty, attention starved, overwhelmed, but much nicer.

17 - under so many layers of irony and memes they don't even know who they are anymore or care. there's no point in being creative or devolving a personality, anything you could think of has already been done.


Oh Society

the law smh GIF by Powerade Giphy

A newish teacher- think anything before the 90s was less detrimental to teachers. I teach now, and there is virtually no student or parent accountability. Many (not all, but many) expect the school system to raise their children for them these days. Not sure where society went wrong.


All the Colors

Started teaching first grade in 1999. I loved teaching till about 2006. Students were so eager to learn kept me on my toes. They were respectful and the parents were supportive. Little by little things started changing. Complaining about colors of napkins, words like angels, witches, It kept getting worse. The amount of paperwork and meetings no time to teach. The testing got in the way took time away from teaching and what was important which is the children. Little by little it took most of my energy. Stopped teaching after only 13 years.



Started teaching at university in the 00s. Kids were really cliquey (into what sub-culture or tribe they were in and didn't mix) and intolerant of difference (of any kind). Was 10 years older than them, most had no idea how to save a file on the computer into different formats. Had to tell kids not to describe things they didn't like as 'gay' ALL THE TIME. 10s they started being better at technology, but worse at fixing it when it went wrong, getting more tolerant, more likely to mix. 20s kids are really tolerant, kinder, but much, much sadder.


Becoming a Veteran

Started teaching in 1985, retired in 2015. I enjoyed teaching in all of those years and enjoyed knowing almost all of my students. I feel that any observations I might make would be so prejudiced by my own reactions to the era and my own ageing that it's a bit of a ridiculous question. I do think that more people need to commit to better parenting, as I was appalled by how scarred many students were by sheer parental neglect and abuse, regardless of the era.

I don't think abuse has become any more prolific, but I recognized it more and more as I became a veteran teacher.

Other than that, talking about people by generations is just another way to divide us and keep us quarrelling; otherwise we might notice that we've all become the property of corporations. And they don't want that.


Kids are Rot

Kids don't change, but accountability is gone in my district. First half of my career (90s, 00's) students and parents were far more accountable. Today, if a student does not thrive, it is blame the teacher all day, every day. Teachers now compete with Tik Tok, Snap Chat, video games etc... and there is such a sense of entitlement, at least in my district.

The students are still great, but the adults have messed this up so bad. We have eliminated all deadlines in my district, and students can re-do an assignment over and over until they get the grade they want. Consequences can be great learning experiences, but we are no longer able to apply them.


The Tools

Teachers Day Education GIF by Originals Giphy

I cant comment as a teacher, but as someone in educational IT, everything today is about how can we buy this latest pointless web-app for kids to use and shoehorn it in ASAP!


My hat is off to every educator. Especially those that have marched on through this pandemic. Thank you for your service. You are essential. You are important. You craft the future. And we see why.


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