I started to write a manifesto to parents informing them that their children were feral, but I thought better of it. If they don’t know their children are feral by now, they don’t want to know.
Why my attitude you ask? Well, in our lovely new library we have sectionals on wheels, wheels that can be locked. We can place these together like pieces of a pie to form seating circles, or snakes, or even the number eight. I usually walk the floor during breaks, talking with students and just keeping an eye on things, but today, my lovely aide was away ill and so I was solo and needed to be at the front desk during break. I turned to see one student lift one of the sectionals (large enough to seat three year 8 students) over his head and proceed to walk through the mass of students in the library. I ordered him to cease and desist, as well as to leave the library immediately. He blinked at me, stunned that his behaviour was not tolerated.
Earlier in the day I discovered that an infloor outlet that allows students to plug their computers in to recharge had been vandalised. Not only had the metal flip lid that sits flush with the floor been ripped off, but the cables inside had been cut, possibly with a pair of scissors. The IT guys declared it an electrical hazard. This would have taken some concerted effort and was probably executed in front of a number of other students. (We all know whom I would like to execute…)
At the beginning of the year, the students were in awe of the library and treated it with respect, but just like their attitude to other things at school, their respect is waning. Short attention spans to everything syndrome.
I gave my class a period of free reading in the library today also, and several of them acted as though I was punishing them. One or two were obviously angry that I expected them to sit quietly and read. My criteria was that they could read anything, be it fiction, nonfiction, graphic novel, picture book, magazine or newspaper, but the vast majority were affronted that I expected them to do individual silent reading. Easiest class all day, I argued. Not impressed, Miss.
So another day of having my worst fears confirmed that we are going to hell in a hand basket. I am also wondering if they are so feral and defiant at home, or do they just save it up for school? I don’t for one moment believe that this behaviour is only exhibited in the library, other teachers have confirmed my fears that it happens in the classroom, and to look at the amount of litter in the school yard, despite a rubbish bin every 5 metres, in the school yard as well.
Here we are so concerned about climate change for the sake of future generations, and the majority of them appear not to give a care! They litter, deface and destroy with monotonous regularity. They appear to appreciate nothing, not $2million dollar libraries, lap tops handed to them for a fraction of the cost of buying one, or landscaped gardens for their pleasure and relaxation.
Am I wrong? Have I missed something? Do they in fact appreciate something, anything; or have we created a generation with an outsized sense of entitlement? If so, what happens when they have to provide for themselves? What happens when they have to provide it for others, be it ageing parents or their own children? Can there be a happy ending?