A teacher responding to a kid in a classroom with a raised hand.
Unsplash | National Cancer Institute

Teachers Share The Biggest Differences Between Students Now And 20 Years Ago

Trends come and go, and every generation of youth has their own mark on the world. With new technologies and whatnot, times have definitely changed since we were young.

The people who see that change first hand are the ones who spend years around different groups of children. In other words, teachers. These Reddit teachers share the differences between students they taught over the past couple of decades.

Old stereotypes are a thing of the past.

A girl wearing a varsity jacket.
Unsplash | Kartini Maxson

"I’ve been a teacher for 15 years and one thing I’ve noticed is that in recent years the 'breakfast club' stereotypes like jocks, nerds, etc. seem to be falling by the wayside and kids seem to be hidden under many layers of irony."

It's nice to know that social change is actually happening.

A cluster of pride flags waving in the wind.
Unsplash | daniel james

"I've been teaching high school since 1993. Students are less homophobic by a long shot, at least where I've been. There is still homophobia but they can't be open about it."

Same with mental health issues.

A model of the human brain and nerves.
Unsplash | Robina Weermeijer

"Students talk about things like depression and mental illness more; whether the prevalence rate for things like depression actually is higher or not I don't know, but it's more talked about."

Younger generations definitely talk about mental health more openly than the older ones.

Social media is definitely a thing of the present and future.

A person texting on a smartphone.
Unsplash | Pradamas Gifarry

"In 1999, class was super noisy when you came in. Everyone talking and then quieting down when you started teaching. Now, like walking into a funeral home. Cell phone silence."

It's kind of funny how technology is making kids less computer-literate.

A person typing on a laptop.
Unsplash | Daniel Thomas

"Been teaching since 2006. Kids are getting worse with computers due to them mostly using smart devices. I'm spending more time teaching things like how to double click and enter a URL than I used to."

Like, they might not know how to do simple stuff that the rest of us would.

A string of code on a computer screen.
Unsplash | Valery Sysoev

"They're more alike than different, but students of 1999 were more likely to be able to write their own web page in raw HTML..."

"...and students in 2019 aren't sure how to make a basic PowerPoint or attach something to an email."

The top left corner of a Gmail screen.
Unsplash | Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk

"I've been doing this long enough that I remember when the professors were baffled by all things computer-ish and the students were impatient with how clueless we were, and now it's reversed."

Kids today have a lot of trouble focusing, it seems.

A kid watching something on his tablet.
Unsplash | Emily Wade

"Many more attention problems. Not just the severe ones (ADD/ADHD), but kiddos who just have trouble focusing. Now, I don't want to hear a lot of backlash from non-teachers who say we mean teachers expect kids to sit all day and work."

"My students change activities frequently."

An iPad tablet with a keyboard attachment.
Unsplash | Brandon Romanchuk

"They are allowed to stand instead of sit. We also do quite a bit of hands on stuff. But over the years, I've noticed a HUGE problem with focusing and getting things done."

Well, there could be a link between screen time and attention problems, so it would make sense.

Young people really don't read anymore.

A little girl looking through a shelf of books.
Unsplash | Suad Kamardeen

"Kids don't read as much. They spend free time on electronic devices. It's addictive and I'm guilty, too. I LOVE to read, but I find myself here on Reddit or elsewhere on the internet instead of actually READING books. But I'm 49. These kids NEED to read. And they need to read BOOKS."

Kids are much more protected these days.

A girl sitting on a bike.
Unsplash | Vitolda Klein

"My students today are way over protected and far more nervous than when I started teaching in 1994. For example I have had several students (typically girls) who at 12 or 13 have literally never been alone."

"They have not been on a bike ride alone or a walk around their block alone."

Two teens posing on their bikes.
Unsplash | Chands Yarrow

"Their parents are so afraid of stranger danger that they are preventing their students from having the necessary alone time to get into trouble and try to solve problems independently."

Kids might be lacking problem solving skills these days.

A kid looking at a book with an adult.
Unsplash | Adam Winger

"Lack of persistence. This is loosely correlated to instant gratification conditioning. If they can't figure something out on the first try, they require hand-holding for each step. And if they get frustrated with the hand-holding, they give up."

Kids today might be asking for a little too much at times.

A classroom full off middle or high school kids.
Unsplash | Kenny Eliason

"There’s some sense of entitlement I’ve noticed. Like 'I deserve a better grade' or 'I deserve an extension because this week has been hard.' Plus some sense of arrogance: 'Why should I follow your instructions? My way is better.'

"To be fair, sometimes their way is better and I have learned from them in some occasions."

It's kind of interesting how health (and fashion) has changed.

A box of partially eaten donuts.
Unsplash | Bethany Newman

"Sorry not a teacher but a family friend who has been teaching a little over 30 years now once said kids today are bigger (in size) and their clothes are smaller while in the past they were a lot smaller while their clothes were bigger/baggier."

Kids today literally don't know how to spell.

A person typing at a computer.
Unsplash | Christin Hume

"I'm a GTA for undergraduate chemistry labs. The amount of absolutely crap grammar and nonsensical word salad I see on their lab reports is depressing.

"I mean, I know it's not an English class, and I don't grade it like one, but stuff like 'Solution A have more ions than solution B b/c solution A have AlCl3 in it but solution B have CaCl2 in it,' is completely mind blowing to me."

Though, you can't really blame the kids for anything.

A mom with her two kids while looking at a tablet.
Unsplash | Alexander Dummer

"First off, the kids are essentially the same--it is the parents who are far more immature. They want to be 'buddies' with their kids instead of being, well, parents, so discipline is far worse. Kids know they won't be punished at home so the push the envelope at school."

"Parents are also making far worse decisions in raising their kids."

Two parents sitting in a forest with their young children.
Unsplash | John-Mark Smith

"Have your family take a week long vacation in September while your child is flunking my class? Sure! That was unthinkable 10-20 years ago."

Maybe parents today have become a little too lenient.

With the bad comes the good, though.

Three kids sitting and laughing together.
Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

"Students are more supportive of each other and less judgmental. Kids are often lauded for things that would have gotten them bullied in the past."

I think one thing kids today are really good at is embracing their weirdness.

It's too bad that so many kids feel like they can't pursue their passions.

A classroom full of young students ready to learn.
Unsplash | CDC

"Everything school related is viewed in the context of college applications, where the goal is to check as many boxes as possible. Fewer and fewer kids giving themselves a chance to find something academic they are passionate about and allowing themselves the time to engage with it."