Generation Degeneration

Jose Vilson 4 Comments

I don’t often post about my job, mainly because I don’t need to hear the feedback about my posts through administrators or, for shame, my own students. However, a pressing matter that concerns me (and has for the last two years) is how we as educators and current society bearers turn “our” children into men and women of character. Unfortunately, the future of our kids looks bleak in comparison to kids from past generations. Except the late 80’s a.k.a. the First Crack Era.

It scares me that these children would rather rely on the instability of gangs versus the chance to better understand the world around them through a viable and honest education. Of course, I already have my reservations about the people in charge of our educational system, but on a more immediate level, the set of teachers my kids have are exceptional human beings.

We often discuss how best we can motivate some of our kids on an individual basis. Some of the factors affecting our ability to reach them including their family situation, their environment, and their educational disposition (or history). Most of that we have no control over, and like a combination lock, we’re all searching for the set of numbers that will open these kids up to new ideas. What’s even more problematic is when we have unlocked a kid, we have to find a way to keep the door open while unlocking the next kid.


Last week, I was asked to speak to a leadership club in my school about a variety of topics, one of which I’m sure includes why I decided to become a teacher. While I’m completely honored by this selection, my present dilemma of how to inspire this generation of kids has me in a similar predicament to the chicken and the egg. Which came first when I taught: my need to teach the kids or the need to inspire them to become better people?

jose, the educator indeed

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 4

  1. angelamichelle

    okay i’m back. whenever you have a system that “turns” children into something, as if they weren’t something already, you will have a system that fails children. children don’t like being led in a way that totally negates the people they know they are, and that is what most modern day school systems do. you best unlock a kid by setting a certain number of possibilities in front of that child and allowing them to choose which best suits them; that first choice might not be what we think is best for them, but it shows where their confidence in their abilities lie. once you know what they think they are capable of, you can guide them with encouragement to what you know they are more capable of. the tricky part about that is, getting to them early enough to where they have not already adopted a certain behaviour or built up blocks that trap their potential.

    i’d be willing to be the need to inspire the children to be better came first… because anyone who deals with children on a regular basis knows they have the tools to learn and can do so from any teacher. they have to want to first.

  2. LuzMaria

    The question you pose is one of the biggest challenges educators face. We can no longer teach in isolation and fail to understand the children in the classroom. Educators have to know their students in order to understand their respective worldview. By doing the latter, we might be able to present them with different choices which will enable them to think about other alternatives. Often their wants and needs are misunderstood and not heard since some educators are not active listeners. We have to listen with an open heart and be non-judgemental. With this being said, my answer to your question is to both teach and inspire them.

  3. Pingback: Sammy Sullivan

Leave a Reply