“Teaching has just changed.”
“Kids aren’t the same anymore.”
“Parents priorities are just so different today.”
Many conversations in and out of the educational workplace begin with this type of rhetoric (Is this an example of rhetoric? I’m going out on a limb here!). And the implication being made is that the change is not good. And while I do agree that teaching, children, and parents have changed, I don’t believe that is any different! Because the change in the air has always been there. And these sentiments have been intoned generation after generation.
But the conversation continues. And younger teachers will often ask what changes have I seen. (They ask me because after 30 years of teaching they assume, rightly so, that I have been an eyewitness to some of these changes.) My response is usually a little ‘fumbly’ (I believe I just created a new word, and I like it!) because it is hard to name a change that hasn’t occurred before.
Well, parents are busier, but that isn’t a new change, it’s been going on for years.
Well, kids have more distractions, but that isn’t new either.
Well, teachers have to pay attention to so much more than just what they are hired to teach. Nope, nothing really new there!
So this is what brings me to my topic because it has changed.
“Children, you all know about needs and wants! Let’s name out a few and then we are going to examine what you know about them and why they get classified the way they do.”
“Food is a need.”
“Yes, yes, absolutely, food is a need!”
“Toys are a want.”
All heads nodded and a few, “I need my toys,” were heard. “Good!”
“Clothes are a need, and shelter. Like you need a house!”
“You sure do!”
“Cell phones are a need.”
“Ha ha,” I began to reply, “well, we all love our cell phones but…”
“You need it to call people!”
“You need it to answer questions.”
“You need it for directions. My mom would always be lost!”
“You need it for reading. And for a calculator.”
“And you can buy things, things you need!”
Hmmm, cell phones, needs or wants? These kids made a pretty good argument for need v want. And I have to admit, in today’s age, a cell phone (and reality here…a smart phone) has become a need. Which leads me to ponder (I am a great ponderer!), what else has become a need that was once simply classified a want?