Kids Don’t Care

By Adam Welcome

I am so tired of hearing it.

“Another app? I don’t have time.”

“I forgot my password.”

“We tried that and it didn’t work.”

“Do I have to? I really liked the paper newsletter. Ugh.”

Yes – you have to. You really do!

And another thing – Don’t. Get. Comfortable.

When I left the classroom ten years ago we had iPods for my students, and we thought it was amazing. It was cutting edge, kids were beyond pumped to use this new found engagement strategy to further their learning in class. And then soon after schools started buy Smartboards, then iPads, which pretty much completely changed the purchasing habits of schools across the country and also how technology was attempted to be integrated into the classroom.

And then some people got comfortable, districts thought they had a plan, and the Chromebook came along. And now, for under $200, and a ridiculously easy set up process, the purchasing habits and how technology is implemented and utilized in a vast majority of classrooms has changed.

Don’t get comfortable.

The world changes everyday. Our kids pick it up, they click on links, hover over an icon – figure it out by digging in and getting their hands dirty.

Why should adults have a free pass to make excuses?

Often times only the early adopters are on board because they’re techie.

Tech isn’t even tech, it’s our life. It’s in our life. Our kids don’t call their devices, apps, and way of communicating tech. It’s just life. Ask a kid what they like about tech, and they’ll give you a ‘what are you talking about’ look.

I don’t even like the word techie. It automatically puts people into certain groups and isolates those that think a certain way or allow themselves a free pass from trying something new. How about instead of referring to people as techie, we just simply call them a learner.

Learners are constantly looking forward and striving to remain relevant for themselves and the students they work with. Fifty years ago being a learner didn’t have anything to do with technology, and who knows what it will look like in fifty years down the road. Tech may or may not be a part of the equation, but being a learner definitely will.

Yes, change is happening at a much faster rate than fifty years ago – and we have to keep up.

My wife’s grandmother is 97, she’s relevant and a learner. She has Gmail, she’s tried to set up her own wi-fi network, calls me to ask questions about her computer. She’s 97 and doesn’t make one excuse. She puts herself out there and tries new things, because she knows that in order to stay connected and relevant  – she has too!

I’m not the only one though, in talking with others it’s totally real, it’s totally a problem and something needs to be done. There shouldn’t be a free pass because people just don’t want to. Because they’re close to retirement. Because it’s more work. Because the first time they tried something it didn’t work. Or maybe because the kids probably know more than you about the technology. It’s not an excuse and it’s not a viable reason.

And you know what. Maybe the most important aspect to all of this.

Kids don’t care.

No kid ever complained if their teacher messed up a lesson. Or didn’t know how to download the new Chrome browser. Because it doesn’t matter and they don’t need you for that. You are important, you are more important than ever, you are just important in different ways.

The sooner that you realize kids don’t care, the faster you’re going to change the entire structure of your classroom. You know kids, you know the curriculum, you know the questions to ask, you know who needs extra support, you know who needs to be pushed, who needs to be nurtured, who needs extra time, who needs just a little encouragement. Then, you can spend more time having conversations. You can spend more time making connections. You can spend more time building relationships.

Don’t be stuck in the Internet Explorer era. Don’t focus on what worked in the past, and focus on all the possibilities that can happen right now. Complaining is not a strategy so please take it out of your behavior and be solutions oriented, that’s how you’ll grow and be happier and be even more awesome for kids.

If we’re not relevant and speaking our kids language, we’re teaching and connecting and communicating with an entire generation of kids in a foreign language that they don’t speak and we can’t understand what they’re saying either.

Ask a group of 5th graders what Blockbuster is? They can’t tell you. Blockbuster doesn’t have an excuse, they simply didn’t remain relevant and became obsolete.

Ask your incoming Kindergarten students when was the last time they went to Toys-R-Us. They have no idea what you’re talking about.

Ask your class what they’re favorite show on HBO is, they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about because most of them probably don’t even watch tv, they consume their content on YouTube and other platforms.

Get over what you don’t know, what you haven’t been trained on and what you think you’re not ready for. Your students need you, they just need you in different ways.

No more excuses, they don’t work, it doesn’t get you anywhere and just pushes you farther away. If you need help, just ask – there are plenty of us who will lend a hand!

Adam Welcome

Adam Welcome

Adam has been an elementary school teacher, Principal, Director of Innovation for a large school district in the Bay Area and is also an author and speaker.

One thought on “Kids Don’t Care

  1. Hi Adam,

    As the co-founder of an EdTech company, I found this post quite inspiring.

    I used to teach myself and it can indeed be easy to fall into the tried and tested, rely on old methods and activities that worked in the past, but in the end it is about adapting, keeping things fresh and exciting for students, as well as for oneself.

    This is also something we have to do at Sutori, adapt and evolve the product over time. Our primary concern is continuing to build out a tool educators want and need and this also goes through improving the UX and design, fields that are constantly evolving.

    Thank you for your inspiring post! May educators remain as curious as their students 🙂

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