Monday, January 31, 2011

Burrito with a side of ADD

We're doomed.

And by "we" I mean teachers.

I'm certainly not a wise old sage when it comes to teaching, but I've been around long enough to have noticed that kids are changing. Each year I find myself needing to do a little more tap dancing and juggling to keep their attention. I'm sure you have too.

Yesterday the fam went to Chipotle for lunch. Do you have a Chipotle near you? Oh, how I love Chipotle. It's loud so people don't notice that my twins are loud. It's counter service so I can enjoy my giant burrito without feeling bad for any waitress that got stuck waiting on "Littlest Learners: Party of 5" and the trail of crumbs we leave that would rival anything Hansel and Gretel could have tossed in the woods. It's fast food so I don't need to entertain the younguns' while we wait for cooked to order edibles. Plus, it is cheap (by dining out standards) and oh-so-yummy!

Anyhow, if you aren't familiar with it, you basically cattle herd through an assembly line of burrito goodness while a team of workers wearing Tshirts with such cleverness as "Foil Shizzle" written on them builds you the burrito of your dreams. The whole process takes only minutes.


Yet, in line in front of me there were three separate families with children under the age of 6. One was playing games on an iTouch, one was playing Angry Birds on an iPhone and the third was reporting current wait times for Test Track and Toy Story Mania using the Disney App on her mom's cell phone. This was not to be rivaled by the (estimated) barely 2 year old sitting in the stroller with the Dsi.


Do you understand how hard it is going to be to attempt to teach these kids and hold their attention in a classroom if they can't even wait in line for 5 minutes with live burrito action in front of them without needing high-tech entertainment?

I love technology. I'm guilty of sitting on the couch with OnDemand on the TV, my smartphone by my side, my MacBook in my lap and my iPad in my hand. I check Facebook constantly for fear I may miss an important update on what an acquaintance from high school (who's existence I had completely forgotten about until he friend requested me) had for dinner. I can Doodle Jump with the best of them. I stream video. I rock the Smartboard. I buy Xbox games for my husband who should have retired from "the sport" fifteen year ago. I get it. I really do. But, I just don't see how we will ever have the means or the funding to meet the changing needs of kids who have had so many bells and whistles, lights, touchscreens and apps from such a young age.

What do y'all think? Am I just old and crotchety or are you finding that you are battling the effects of instant gratification too?


Tracy said...

Oh am I ever feeling it!! We were just talking about this at lunch last week - the topic went something like the beginning of your post - having the energy it takes to constantly entertain them in order to maintain any bit of attention is exhausting and I blame it completely on the electronics world! No matter what type of routine I manage to choreograph, I simply don't come with flashing lights, sounds and constant motion - a human cannot provide the sensory stimulation they are accustomed to...whew! I'm tired but I feel better!!

Tracy Harris said...

You are right. We have been consistently told that we have to "meet them where they are." Unfortunately, they ARE in the video game world.

Mr. Patrick said...

I agree with you! I'm 25, and this is my third year teaching, and in the short, short span of my career, I can't believe how much more of a show I have to put on. Today we had to launch rockets outside because I couldn't bear to battle the noise during a lesson. Nothing holds them, and they even complained about the rockets! I integrate tons of tech, but they never use it properly, and would rather sneak out their DS and iPod and cell phone and whatever else came out 30 seconds ago than pay any attention to what's happening in class!! I have a class website that is more or less unused, I use the smartboard daily, I have a special Mr. patrick facebook page ... but .... nothin. Nothing holds them anymore!! It's unreal.

Courtney said...

I feel the same way. I feel like I have to come up with a new song and dance everyday. I can't believe how many of my second graders still cannot color in the lines and cut correctly.

Anonymous said...

I COMPLETELY agree. I was even observed today during a 15-minute mini lesson and 1) half my class couldn't attend to me for even half that time and 2) all the redirections I had to do probably took over my actual lesson. It's ridiculous nowadays.

I've also noticed that (probably because of this "instant" technology nowadays) that their patience level is shockingly low. If I have to walk across the room to get something for our next lesson, I'll hear 3-4 kids sigh in bored annoyance - I had wasted a precious 6 seconds of their life that they could have been multi-tasking during! How dare I!

Cyndy said...

I also LOVE technology so I am also VERY guilty and often my girls will have our iphones in their hands, sometimes more than we do... LOL! But I know exactly what you mean... I just had a day of several powerpoints with my first graders and had to have things flying in and at the end of it they thought it was so fun, but someone asked if next time I could, "make it talk!" Geeze! Never enough! Oh, and btw, I LOVE Chipotle!!

Abby said...

Omiword, you are soooo SPOT ON. Love. This. Post. Ah-mazing. I could go on and on. I would like to have lunch with you someday - I think we'd havea lot to talk about!!!!!


Dani said...

Oh my gosh! Yes. I love that on long trips my kids can play their DSI's BUT!!!! come on we havelimits in this house, they don't go with us unless we have more than an hour drive. I hate that when people are spending "family time" that someone is texting, playing or talking on something! How is that family time! What happened to self entertainment!!!! It is even apparent in my prek class so so sad

Ms. Wiley said...

very interesting topic. Have you been to TEDtalks? Check my blog post out about boys and gaming (although I do believe it's both boys and girls!)

Ginny said...

I live outside of Baton Rouge, LA and we have Izzo's and Zippy's. They are both like this Chipotle you speak of.

ruth said...

I had 4 computers added to my kindergarten classroom last summer. My students have not used them at all this year. They get a 40 minute technology special each week...enough in my book.
I am working hard at teaching them to focus on a human being, do work properly with pencil and paper, hold and use scissors correctly, enjoy learning games with cards, dice, and actual pieces, draw and color using "real life colors" and make proper bodies and backgrounds. I hope it makes a difference in their school journey!