Are Millennial Teachers More Successful at Reaching Kids?
As the millennial generation takes its place in the workforce, changes are ensuing. Education in particular, has undergone some method changes in teaching since many millennial teachers are coming into their own. Characterized by qualities like transparency, outspoken behavior, and collaboration, these younger individuals are a far cry from the traditional “teacher” stereotype. These educators are changing the country’s education system, slowly but surely.
Different classroom styles are typical for millennial teachers in a variety of ways. Flipping some of the traditional teaching curriculum regarding classroom organization and management upside down, these educators are paving the way for new strategies to develop. Increased flexibility is a staple of millennial lifestyle, in and outside of schools. In classrooms, this often means allowing students more independence, control, and trust to foster increased productivity. Accessibility and flexibility go hand in hand.
For instance, a cell phone policy of “red, yellow, and green light” options leaves room for listening to music during independent work time, rather than banning the devices altogether. Understanding that some kids utilize the auditory stimulation to maintain focus is the mark of a college environment. There is more consideration for the idea that different students learn differently, and for adapting teaching methodology to address these intricacies.
Technology has its day when it comes to flexibility as well. Sites like Google Classroom allow material to be accessible to students whenever, wherever, rather than solely during a class period.
Millennials also tend to understand that basic needs govern a student’s ability to focus in the classroom. If a student hasn’t slept more than two hours because they were babysitting and hasn’t eaten breakfast, they are likely going to have a lower threshold for frustration than someone who got eight hours of sleep and enjoyed cereal that morning. In addition to the basics, trauma affects many students and must be considered with regard to potential triggers in the learning material. Understanding that all these factors which happen outside school affect school performance is monumental and critical to millennial teaching styles. It means an increase in classroom management skills and patience regarding the speed of actual content delivery.
Participation and Diversity
Millennial-run classrooms tend to be very participatory. There is typically an understanding that every single student’s point of view is important, regardless of whether particular students happen to be quiet or outspoken. Teachers of the millennial generation typically appreciate new strategies rather than accepting tradition for tradition’s sake. Simply because a problem has always been solved a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the most efficient method. Creativity is valued.
Leading with Understanding
Instant feedback is typically considered a virtue. Strength-based coaching is valuable not only to teachers, but as a technique for teachers to use with students. Understanding and assuming that students are the best judge of their own character and know themselves best is a fairly new attitude, as opposed to teachers assuming they are the experts in the classroom about everything due to age, education, and experience.
Differences from contemporary counterparts clearly range widely in the classroom, but even extend to the actual certification process as well. Online teaching degrees provide an arena for teacher education that allows for accommodating different learning styles, schedules, and lifestyles. Flexibility, accessibility, and innovation characterize this facet of teacher life as well.
Millennial Teachers Add Value to Education
Truly, millennials are transforming classrooms across the country. By styling classrooms with flair, understanding the realities of life outside school walls, adapting material to be accessible, and encouraging communication through feedback, millennial teachers are responding to the changing needs of the national student body. Over time, districts will learn how to make room for these new perspectives and will be able to support them.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.