Teachers Are Sharing The Biggest Differences In Students In 2022 Vs. Years Ago, And Some Are Heartbreaking

·4 min read

Obviously, times have changed — a lot. And teachers know this best. On Sunday, Reddit user u/ProfPacific asked, "Teachers, what changes have you noticed over time in the kids you teach?"

  Rainstar / Getty Images
Rainstar / Getty Images

Now, I haven't been in school in forever, so I'm not saying these statements are 100% truths. But I'm gonna let the teachers share what they think. Here's what they said:

1."I’m a school counselor at a middle school. Over the last five or so years, I’ve noticed that kids know way too much about mental health and sometimes incorrectly apply it to themselves. So many of them are incorrectly diagnosing themselves."

u/Itslocked_nd09

2."Reduced attention span. Also, kids are more pessimistic. There is so much access to what’s going on in the world (which can obviously be good), but you can tell when kids have been reading too much bad news. For example, each year I do an exercise where the kids predict what they think will be invented in the next 100 years. They used to predict things like flying cars, space travel, cancer cures, etc. Now, they predict nuclear weapons, guns and biological warfare. They're 11."

u/clickclickdomino

  Dariogaona / Getty Images
Dariogaona / Getty Images

3."I've noticed post-COVID social anxiety: Students simply don't socialize with people who are not in their friend groups. I've always had 'shy' students in class, but a much higher number of students do not socialize with others as a general rule now."

u/rasputinmcgillicuddy

4."I've taught middle school technology/video journalism for the last 13 years. Kids have gotten way less creative in terms of shooting and editing video. The TikTok/YouTube generation of the last 5+ years has led to more 'point and shoot' filming with little else. No creativity in terms of shot composition, writing a script, trying cool editing techniques."

u/Riot55

5."Appearance. Kids today — even more so than normal — care so much about appearance. They seem to worry more about what they look like, the clothes they wear, the brands of clothing, etc, than teenagers did when I first started teaching."

u/Blisolda

  Luminola / Getty Images
Luminola / Getty Images

6."Geek and nerd culture is growing popular."

u/piglalopa

7."The number of boys with mid-parts and baggy pants is through the roof."

u/dingbatyokel5000

8."Parents are the ones who changed the most. Used to be if a kid was struggling you’d talk to the parents about it and the parents would listen to your suggestions. Now if a kid struggles the parents blame you for failing and assume you’re a clueless moron."

u/Radthereptile

9."Students don't curb their language at all around adults."

u/ChrisNEPhilly

  Zinkevych / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Zinkevych / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10."This is my 13th year teaching as a college art instructor. For me there have been lots of changes, but far and away the biggest is a huge decline in creativity, work ethic, and sense of exploration. There used to be a culture of 'studio rats' that would be excited about trying whatever technique they recently learned and would spend countless hours in the studios making all sorts of things. Now? If someone is in the studio, you can bet they are glued to their phone."

u/AllThatsFitToFlam

11."I always have at least one kid who wants to be excused to do a TikTok in the hallway."

u/RifleShower

  Halfpoint / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Halfpoint / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12."Over 20 years in public school teaching here. I’ve noticed kids want instant gratification/rewards. When I began teaching, students worked to progress in a subject. Now (I suspect internet is to blame) they see a virtuoso play an instrument on TikTok, so they pick up a trumpet and expect to be Louis Armstrong. I constantly tell my students, 'It takes years of work and thousands of hours to achieve at that level.' Same goes with sports. Little Johnny or Susie is 12 years old and not trained, but they expect to be the next Tom Brady or Serena Williams."

u/Maccamaniac33

13."Ok, I'll be the contrarian here. I've been teaching high school for 22 years now - and I DON'T see the declining behavior or attention-span trends that other people complain about. Obviously teens are now pretty glued to their electronic devices, but I haven't seen any meaningful big-picture changes in their intellects, processing capacity, or attention span."

u/WidmanstattenPattern

And lastly, to end on a positive:

14."Less sexism, racism, and homophobia. Kids are more open and willing to advocate for their mental health too. Also, students are open to discuss enthusiastic consent and pull each other up on it — really they call each other out too on poor behavior; however, they are quick to forgive."

u/paperconservation101

Teachers, did they miss any?! Let me know allll your thoughts in the comments below!

Responses edited for length/clarity.