Kids Today!

There are very few things that really grind my gears. Staff and students who have worked with me for a long time will know that I don’t get annoyed or cranky very often, and I’m really not much different in my personal life – if anything I’m probably even more relaxed about things.

But one thing that really does annoy me is when people discredit our current generation of kids. As someone who has pretty much always worked with kids throughout my adult life as a teacher, theatre director or sporting coach, I have a high opinion of what kids are capable of.

It’s so easy to believe everything the media tells us and to assume that every kid today is a social media addict, sitting on their phones all day and night with no idea how to entertain themselves when the wifi is out.

Last Friday’s Athletics Carnival was not only a wonderful day of friendly competition and fun, but also a great endorsement for the kids of today. For people of my generation it’s easy to think that when we were at school everyone was an athletic champion, because we didn’t have phones or iPads or Netflix. However, I can safely say that when I was in high school back in the late 80s and early 90s there were LOTS of kids who didn’t show up to our carnivals, or if they did, they didn’t have much of a go.

At our carnival, we had more than 90% of students in attendance and all of them got in and had a go at multiple events. Some only did a couple of events, but then they helped run events for the rest of the day. From my vantage point in the announcing box, it was pretty rare to see kids just sitting around soaking up the sunshine – they were competing, helping, or supporting their friends.

I had a bright idea to give an award to anyone who competed in all 10 events on the day. On Friday night I went through the results sheets and found almost 40% of students had a crack at every event on the day – and yes there was an even split between primary and high school students! I don’t think I’ve got that many award certificates to be able to give out…

Maybe it has something to do with the supportive families our kids have, or the smaller school environment that makes them feel a bit less self-conscious? Maybe it’s a result of 2020 and so many things being cancelled this year? Or maybe it could just be that kids are still kids and they love getting outside and competing with their peers. This term I have also had the pleasure of seeing major works get finished off in Design and Technology, Automotive, and Visual Arts. I have seen my Multimedia students use technology to be creative and innovative. I’ve marked Trial HSC exams and been impressed with my students’ ability to analyse texts and express their ideas. I’ve had my PDH class tell me we need to have less time on Chromebooks and more time engaging with the world around us while they have made up exercise programs and cooked up delicious, healthy food. And all this is just scratching the surface of what our high school students are capable of.

Kids today are amazing. Just give them the opportunity and they’ll prove it to you.

Mr Ballantyne

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