Five reasons why Generation Z is much more than TikTok

March 2, 2020

IMG_7039.jpeg

This year I’m trying to use LESS technology in my classes in effort to have more hands-on, interactive face time with each other. 

So a few months ago I had a doodle prompt for my students that asked them to jot down something they’ve learned in the news and where they learned it from. They all listed #impeachment and cited TikTok as their source.

TikTok.

Of course, I proceeded to have them show me their TikToks and explain it to me. One student says “we know it’s stupid but we also love it.” (Love them and their honesty.)

It’s election season, which means education gets swept into the mud-slinging of debates and ads. As a public school teacher for 15 years, I’m very aware that we have issues. If a politician wanted my opinion, I’d be ready for them. 

Here’s what’s NOT wrong with education: the students. Goodness, they are the best. And they are much, much more than TikTok, or whatever dismissive stereotype people have of them. 

Here are 5 (of a trillion) reasons why high school students are SO much more than TikTok:

  1. They are stressed about school– for good reason. They carry the weight of academic excellence in ways our former high school selves could never understand. They know they can’t go into college undeclared like all of us adults could 20 years ago, because colleges are too impacted for indecisiveness. They know they shouldn’t care about what college they get into, but while everyone says the name of the college doesn’t matter, magazines and social media and parents and teachers still take deep pride in citing who attended this Ivy League or who got their undergrad at that UC. Until we stop parading the ambiguous and unreachable “good” college like it’s a carrot made of gold, they will not believe us that it doesn’t matter who sends them an acceptance letter and who sends them a curt no.

  2. They are honest and hilarious. They’ll be the first to call me out when I don’t make sense or when a joke falls flat. They will remind me of what I forgot to post online, forgot to tell one class over the other, etc. But they are also game to do foot races in their Halloween costumes, jazzercise in my classroom at lunch, determine clubs like the “Oatmilk TAs” and “Croissant Club”, memorize Justin Bieber lyrics to perform, and call me “Mob Mama.” See? We have way too much fun. 

  3. They are OVER the traditional way of education. They are smart and they know their classroom looks just like mine and yours and our grandparents’ too. They fully understand that it’s 2020 and while the rest of the world is, you know, planning for cars to fly, the public school system is super excited to finally have laptops. It’s not cute that they still are given packets, and it’s not nostalgic that the rows are lined up just like in the 50s. They crave SO much more. 

  4. They are innovators. One of my students created a Chrome extension to help kids study. Another student created a support group for kids who lost a parent to cancer, something she desperately needed when she was younger. One student created a t-shirt company to raise funds for a youth service program– a program that helped his older brother when he was addicted to drugs. One created and directed a theatre show, another created an annual prom for senior citizens. 

  5. They have a voice and are not afraid to use it. From speaking boldly about what it’s like to be a black man in America to why we need to change how we talk about mental health, to what they think should be done about school shootings…they have opinions, they know how to research, and they believe they have a seat at the table to speak about it. 

So for the voters trying to decide what funding should go to their schools (ahem, all of it!), to the parents who are pulling their hair out trying to understand their hormonal, standoffish teenager, there is SO much more to what we see on the exterior. 

We desperately need their voices. They are the best news we’ve got. 

Work with me

share this post

hey, i'm corrie!

I help people-driven companies, large and small, connect with their kind of people with brand voice strategy + personalized copy. A believer in public schools and Ted Lasso, I love getting to champion the best version of your brand. 

IMG_7039.jpeg

This year I’m trying to use LESS technology in my classes in effort to have more hands-on, interactive face time with each other. 

So a few months ago I had a doodle prompt for my students that asked them to jot down something they’ve learned in the news and where they learned it from. They all listed #impeachment and cited TikTok as their source.

TikTok.

Of course, I proceeded to have them show me their TikToks and explain it to me. One student says “we know it’s stupid but we also love it.” (Love them and their honesty.)

It’s election season, which means education gets swept into the mud-slinging of debates and ads. As a public school teacher for 15 years, I’m very aware that we have issues. If a politician wanted my opinion, I’d be ready for them. 

Here’s what’s NOT wrong with education: the students. Goodness, they are the best. And they are much, much more than TikTok, or whatever dismissive stereotype people have of them. 

Here are 5 (of a trillion) reasons why high school students are SO much more than TikTok:

  1. They are stressed about school– for good reason. They carry the weight of academic excellence in ways our former high school selves could never understand. They know they can’t go into college undeclared like all of us adults could 20 years ago, because colleges are too impacted for indecisiveness. They know they shouldn’t care about what college they get into, but while everyone says the name of the college doesn’t matter, magazines and social media and parents and teachers still take deep pride in citing who attended this Ivy League or who got their undergrad at that UC. Until we stop parading the ambiguous and unreachable “good” college like it’s a carrot made of gold, they will not believe us that it doesn’t matter who sends them an acceptance letter and who sends them a curt no.

  2. They are honest and hilarious. They’ll be the first to call me out when I don’t make sense or when a joke falls flat. They will remind me of what I forgot to post online, forgot to tell one class over the other, etc. But they are also game to do foot races in their Halloween costumes, jazzercise in my classroom at lunch, determine clubs like the “Oatmilk TAs” and “Croissant Club”, memorize Justin Bieber lyrics to perform, and call me “Mob Mama.” See? We have way too much fun. 

  3. They are OVER the traditional way of education. They are smart and they know their classroom looks just like mine and yours and our grandparents’ too. They fully understand that it’s 2020 and while the rest of the world is, you know, planning for cars to fly, the public school system is super excited to finally have laptops. It’s not cute that they still are given packets, and it’s not nostalgic that the rows are lined up just like in the 50s. They crave SO much more. 

  4. They are innovators. One of my students created a Chrome extension to help kids study. Another student created a support group for kids who lost a parent to cancer, something she desperately needed when she was younger. One student created a t-shirt company to raise funds for a youth service program– a program that helped his older brother when he was addicted to drugs. One created and directed a theatre show, another created an annual prom for senior citizens. 

  5. They have a voice and are not afraid to use it. From speaking boldly about what it’s like to be a black man in America to why we need to change how we talk about mental health, to what they think should be done about school shootings…they have opinions, they know how to research, and they believe they have a seat at the table to speak about it. 

So for the voters trying to decide what funding should go to their schools (ahem, all of it!), to the parents who are pulling their hair out trying to understand their hormonal, standoffish teenager, there is SO much more to what we see on the exterior. 

We desperately need their voices. They are the best news we’ve got. 

Work with me

hey, i'm corrie!

I help people-driven companies, large and small, connect with their kind of people with brand voice strategy + personalized copy. A believer in public schools and Ted Lasso, I love getting to champion the best version of your brand. 

share this post

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