A Millennial Introduction
It’s conference season, and thousands of teachers are engaging in professional development, sharing their experiences in schools around the world and learning from one another. A major theme at these events is always “who’s coming” in our ever-changing demographics, and how we will best serve our classrooms in the future. One of the things that I have noticed is that many speakers continue to discuss the millennials and their digital native students as a new social demographic that we need to be preparing for. But we millennials are already here and in the room.
Millennials are generally considered to be those born between 1980 and early 2000s. Generally speaking, millennials are not “digital natives,” meaning they did not grow up with technology. However, millennials did experience the development of technology while still in school, and they entered the workforce with tech skills. I’ve also recognized a subdivision of millennials, determined by whether they entered the workforce before or after the Great Recession began in 2008.
I belong to one of the first years of early millennials, but after attending grad school, I entered the workforce in 2008. As a result, I’ve found myself bridging the gap between Baby Boomers in my industries’ top leadership positions, Generation X management with whom I work on a regular basis, my early-millennial contemporaries who are leading the way for our millennial generation, and my late-millennial classmates who are pushing for change in society and the workplace.
At those professional development opportunities I mentioned earlier, these generations all gather together to share and learn about education, and oftentimes, technology. Anyone who says that these generations can’t work together in meaningful ways needs to check out these conferences. It’s inspiring to see groups that cross generations work towards a common goal: a better education for our children.
So it can be disconcerting to hear speakers talk about millennials in the third person, as if we are not in the room yet. Leadership continues to categorize millennials as a “demographic that’s coming.” At first this frustrated me. But then I thought about it a bit, and I realized that maybe these speakers don’t know that we are in the room, among the crowds of thousands. So, please allow me to introduce myself….
I am a millennial.
I like a good What or Why, but I am obsessed with the How.
YouTube makes me feel like I can do anything.
My daughter’s and my favorite show is How to Cake It – it’s on YouTube.
I am pretty sure that at age 6, technology has already helped her become smarter than I am.
I work full time, but I am still involved in my daughter’s education.
As a school parent, please email me. Don’t wait for the parent conference.
I don’t have cable television.
I pay extra for better internet.
My phone is not my best friend, but I take it with me everywhere.
On social media, I connect with childhood friends, colleagues, distant relatives, college roommates, law school classmates, high school teammates, and four generations of family.
When I am on social media, I am not tuning out the present; I am sharing the present.
I have a complicated relationship with my diplomas.
I don’t work in the industry of my college degree.
I don’t work in the industry of my graduate degree.
When I couldn’t find a job, I created my own.
I work after I get home and I don’t mind.
Somedays, I need to be at home instead of at work. I need my employer to be ok with this.
2008 is a four letter word.
It amazes me that we haven’t fixed the student debt problem.
My monthly student loan payments are hurting my retirement savings.
I can’t decide if my daughter should enter the workplace debt free or with higher degrees.
My obsession with the How makes church hard.
I believe faith is important.
If there is a kids’ mass on a weekend, we’ll probably go to church.
I read ebooks.
If I really love an ebook, I will buy the paperback after I‘ve read it online.
I have bookcases full of books.
One time I was shamed for using my devices too much and went months without reading a book.
I think it’s interesting that a person holding a device looks just like a person holding a book.
I regularly give online feedback to companies.
I rarely boycott.
If a company replies directly to my feedback, I will probably stay with it, even if it doesn’t do everything I want it to.
I am more involved in my daughter’s school community when I have a voice.
Convenience is important to me.
I will consider paying a little more for a more convenient option.
I don’t understand why I can’t pay online for everything.
I think I know where my checkbook is, but I will get annoyed if you ask me to use it.
I believe history is important.
I believe change is important.
I believe everyone is important.
I like spellcheck because sometimes I forget that there are two Ls and two Ns in millennial.
I can tell you that not everything you read about millennials is true.
I can also tell you that a lot of what you read about millennials is true.
I am a millennial.
Don't miss my next post!
Enter your email to have my next post delivered right to your inbox.