A literary magazine celebrating the confluence of thoughts, emotions, and words.

About The Author

Clayton Wilson is a language arts major at the University of Alabama. He enjoys spending time with his family as well as outdoor activities. One of his life missions is to motivate others to become their best despite their circumstances.

         Our Youth Today

Today’s youth (Generation Z) is very eclectic in their styling and appearance. They share a lot of traits and characteristics with the millennial generation. They have knowledge of electronics, are open to new social views, and use music as a central focal point in their social circles. Both generations love to listen to music. MTV was born in late 80”s and with the extension of BET, music videos were a vivid part of the millennial childhood. Similarly, YouTube has carried on the trend as a place that is popular for viewing music content amongst generation z. Gaming is also a big similarity the two generations share. Both generations have a fondness for games both mobile and at home. Lastly, the two generations share their passion for social interaction with each other. Most teenage millennial can attest to the notion that the phone was a major part of their teenage years. Generation Z also feels as though the phone is an integral part of their daily interaction as well.

Even with these similarities, a lot of differences are present amongst the two groups. Ironically, the differences arise in how each generation approach their similarities. For instance, both generations like their fair share of music. However, generation z tends to have an oversaturation of music. They listen to music in more places than the millennial. Music is more integrated into their daily lives and they are more prone to listen to music while they are waiting in between tasks, doing work, working out, or even reading. Also, the area of gaming is another area where differences of the two generations are more visible. Though both generations love gaming, the types of games and how they approach them are very different. Generation Z is more prone to accept cell phone gaming and one person games as enjoyable. They also love online gaming as well. Millennial love local gaming as well as physical games. Since I am from this generation, I can attest to the notion that we loved to play card games such as spades, tonk, I declare war, and rummy with our friends after school instead of the standard cell phone games. Twister and Connect Four was a staple in the house as well.

The biggest difference between the two generations is the method in which they choose to socialize. The phone is the common denominator. The methods are different. The millennials would talk all night with friends on the phone. Generation Z prefers text. The usual talking for hours has been replaced with texting for hours. Passing notes in class has been replaced with typing on Facebook. The saying” getting her phone number” has been replaced with” what’s your Facebook name”. It’s now acceptable to comment on someone’s status to say “hey” rather than give them a call. Socialization is still paramount in the two generations, but their methods differ vastly.

The youth today are misunderstood. A lot of the misunderstanding is due to the way they are perceived by older generations. If we look at Generation Z in relation to the Millennials, we can see the evolution of today’s youth. Yes, they are losing a lot of core values. However, the way they interact is attributed to the digital era that coincides with them generationally. They still do the same things as the previous generation, albeit in a different format.

Our Younger Generations need our help. they need the "Real World" definition of a "Good Teacher".

Sometimes in life, there are words or phrases that can be very ambiguous in nature. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of coming across such phrase. One of my professors posed the question “What is a good teacher?” and immediately drew static general feedback. I could tell by her tone that she was in search of definition that transcends the typical responses. I watched her wave her head as she encouraged the class to reflect upon the phrase “a good teacher” before contributing any more comments to her question. As I started to reflect upon that phrase it dawned on me that even though the Webster derived responses were correct, I realized it’s almost impossible to use the sole adjective “good” to describe that phrase in its entirety.

“Good” as defined by the dictionary is to be “desired or approved of”, to be “correct or proper”, as well as to “be somewhat of high quality but not excellent.” These three definitions, while helpful, do not commit to the full scope of what “A good teacher” is in the classroom. If we examined the first definition, it is true that “A good teacher” is a desirable teacher. However, a bad teacher can be desirable as well by students who prefer a certain class decorum. If we were to use the second definition of “good” to define teacher, one would infer that a proper teacher would be “a good teacher.” The question then becomes “What is proper?” That couldn’t possibly define teachers because everybody definition of proper is inherently different depending on their cultural and social backgrounds. It is similar to the debate of “What is proper English.” That is usually followed with the secondary question of “If your version of English is proper, then why can’t my version be considered the same.” As learned in linguistics, by default there are many different dialects most notably being a gap between the north and the south that would cause our words and some objects to be pronounced different. Yet in the society we live in, our dialects are tailored to our usual audience who considers that specific accent to be the proper pronunciation. In short, the use of proper to help define teacher would only open the debate for whose guidelines of “proper’ should we apply to the word teacher. Those guidelines would run the risk of being culturally derived.

The third definition is a subjective definition of good. In this case good is not the gold standard. Good is considered second best if used amongst the words poor, good, excellent. Surely she wasn’t trying to imply that a good teacher was a teacher that was second best. Especially since she wanted her students to strive to become good educators in the future. This is when I chose to reflect on my education over the years to come up with the perfect definition of a good teacher.

“A good teacher” is a teacher who is thoughtful, caring, and nurturing to their students and their abilities. Usually a good teacher disregards the things that the student can’t help such as socioeconomic status as well as home life, to make sure while in the classroom, the student is provided a sanctuary that promotes positive learning. I find that a good teacher vary their instructional methods and tailor to students learning abilities in order for them to grasp the concepts. Good teachers should know that not all students learn or process information in the same manner. Also, they usually find a way to teach life lessons while simultaneously teaching academic lessons. These type of teachers are willing to push the academic boundaries to ensure student learning is a priority.

Furthermore, if we dissect this phrase without an academic lens, “A good teacher” is willing to meet after school if a student is having trouble. They can be visited outside of normal class hours when issues arise. After giving my thoughts, I realized that it’s easy to get confused on what good is if you are looking at it literally. A good teacher has traits of the standard dictionary word but it isn’t defined by that at all. That phrase have sensory characteristics attached to them that seems less impactful if taken from a purely literal standpoint. “A good teacher” is all of the other stuff that isn’t mentioned in the dictionary. Those words can best be defined by the actions that accompany this under-appreciated sector of our communities.

       teaching is an art
    art that doubles as a gift
       gift that always gives
                        c.wilson 2015

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