Time changes, generations remain the same
March 26, 2008
Do you remember that scene in “The Blair Witch Project,” that shaky, dark scene where the girl was crying out to anyone who would find that worthless documentary they were working on?
I’m starting to feel a lot like that poor, panicked character, the one portrayed by that poor, talentless actress whom no one ever heard from after opening weekend. Except, instead of being trapped in some Hollywood forest, I’m trapped inside of a school district.
That’s right education majors, I have actually made it to my student teaching.
I have been immersed in “the real world” for 53 days and counting as you read this. I have been teaching students at the junior and senior high level in a large urban school district nearby, and I have learned plenty about life, liberty and the pursuit of spring break.
Here are a few of the things I have learned about the real world: 5 a.m. is no longer a bed time. Junior high students are just as afraid of you as you are of them. The hallways of the junior high are like war-torn zones in Kenya, filled with different factions of extremists. Instead of empty grenade shells, it smells like someone emptied seven or eight cans of Axe body spray. And, above all else, these students are not wild animals, they truly are the next generation of world history.
If these students are the next generation of world history, then we are the current.
That brings up the most difficult challenge that has presented itself to me since Jan. 2: this is the time to make history, but I have no idea how to do that.
Instead of thinking about that endless question, “So, where do you see yourself in 10 years?” I’m thinking about where I was 10 years ago.
I distinctly remember that cinematic, life-changing moment back in 1997 when girls were swooning over Leonardo DeCaprio and us boys were experiencing rapid pubescent growth when Kate Winslet bared all in that heart-wrenching, epic drama, “Titanic.”
How about those awkward days in the lunch room—did you hear that Adam and Andrea were holding hands in the hallway!? And how can we forget that post-gym class scent that lingered in the afternoon health class condom lecture.
Girl power rocked KDWB, Seal crooned over the loudspeakers at the school dance with “Kiss From A Rose” and Will Smith got Jiggy Wit It.
Girls were concerned about their butts being too big in their Calvins, and boys wore their pants just below the knee, thus defeating the purpose of underwear.
I have news for you; not too much has changed. I don’t mean these schools are still serving ham stackers and fruit cocktail; plenty has changed since 1998: kids are making robots in their free times, girls’ butt’s can’t be big enough and underwear is, thankfully, under our clothes again.
What I’m saying is that times have changed, but we have not.
Here we are on the verge on making history and our music still sucks, our fashion is still hideous (girls, I’m talking about those ugly boots and big sunglassess and men still get a little excited at the thought of Kate Winslet on a boat.
My point is this: we can’t run away from our future, but we can’t forget our past either.
Sure, we’re all a little hormonal and we still go through drama, but we’re learning how to cope with the change and despair that is growing up with more fluency and speed.
Our generation has been through a lot together— Columbine, Sept. 11 and the rise of American Idol, and there is a lot ahead of us.
All I know is that if I’m going to make history, I’m going to have a cup of fruit cocktail in one hand and Chumbawamba playing on the walkman in my other hand.
Mike is a music education major. After many years of schooling, he will graduate this May.
Mike Pearson is a student at UW-River Falls.