This weekend has been full of Senior Sunday, graduation parties and electing a group of adults to lead our schools, and I just want to say to the kids…I see you.
Our past week has been full of election emails, phone calls, and questions. Attacks have been made, structures have been questioned and friendships have been tested. But one thing is for sure, the kids were not put second.
Not once were the words, “the kids don’t deserve this” ever spoken.
Not once did anyone say “our district isn’t the best in the state”.
Not once was a teacher’s love, quality or willingness to “do whatever it took” for a student ever said.
So we are winning. All of us!
But as we think about leading our schools, we all need a little reminder of who we are leading.
So, Kids, I see you.
(I hope you don’t mind if I share the research with other adults.)
Your group is called Generation Z, kids born between 1994 and 2010, and you don’t know a world without the internet. You will become the most entrepreneurial, conservative, diverse and educated generation in the world.
The majority of your generation believes in volunteering (77%), concerned about man’s impact on the planet (76%) and display emotional distress when kept away from your personal electronic devices. (79%)
(Fun Fact: 51% would give up eating but only 44% would give up their phones for a day.)
You are able to multitask and often are watching Netflix, doing homework, listening to music and Facetiming your sister. (84%)
Even though adults will say that you don’t communicate, I wonder if they have ever asked you how you would like to receive information. Studies show that 11% would like a text, 16% would like an email, but 52% would like a face-to-face meeting with a boss or manager. Thanks to texting, you know how to communicate concisely and efficient. You are interested in making a difference and say you are most influenced by your parents. (81%)
Our job as teachers, administrators and newly elected school board members, is to not forget some of your biggest worries and needs. Nearly 50% of you are working a job in high school, 64% of you are seeking advanced degrees in one aspect of your lives, and 80% of you feel you are more driven than your peers. That’s a lot of pressure on you by your parents, peers and yourself.
(Adults, we need to not forget mental health needs for this generation. They will look to us to increase opportunities to listen, teach and serve them as they grow and develop.)
85% of you research online, watch lessons online and use YouTube or other media sites to learn something new. You are always searching for ways to make yourself better and feel that you couldn’t do that without the internet (76%).
You worry about money after graduation, seek your dream job and think about raising a family but, 72% of you feel school didn’t teach you enough about any of these areas. (Financial Literacy, laundry sorting, how to sit in a meeting, how to dress for an interview and what to do when your phone rings in a meeting need to be taught.)
You want to start your own business one day, expect to fail, wish your hobby could turn into a full-time job and want to invest in changing the world. You purchase your clothes online, textbooks online, identify yourself as deal hunters and enjoy time eating out with your friends more than any other social event.
But I also see you making your own lunches because your parents are already at work. I see you getting on the bus in the dark and returning home hot, sweaty and tired. I see you going to work, making the grade, and volunteering at Relay for Life. I see you caring for others, showing empathy and teaching the rest of us how to accept differences. You hold your peers to a standard that is higher than what your parents even hold you to
and for that
I SEE YOU!
Research done by Visa, JWT, University of Maryland, Robert Half, Millennial Branding and Randstad, Deep Focus, Future Workplace and internships.com.