I just don't know what's up with kids these days.
(Cue old fogey picture, complete with me bent over a cane holding my backside. Whippersnappers!)
It all started this morning. One of the ladies in the office asked me to judge an essay contest for her civic group. The participants were local high school students. The theme was "Why I Want to Make a Difference."
Now, I realize that I have a college degree that taught me a good deal about writing. And that I write for a living and for my hobby. But these essays - they were really, really badly done.
Does no one teach kids to write anymore? When I was in high school, my English teacher had us enter every little essay contest which came down the pike, in addition to our regular class work. She wanted us to get as much practice in as possible.
These kids were all around 16 years old - they all had at least two years of high school under their belts. But their writing skills were seriously lacking.
My coworker had narrowed the field down to about six finalists, and I had to choose the top three.
Most of them didn't even follow the theme adequately.
I finally made my decision, but it was one of those "three least of six evils" situations.
What happens when they go to college, and they have to write papers in every class, not just English?
Then, I went to a local elementary school to cover a "Knowlege Bowl" competition. It was their first annual, in honor of Black History Month.
Personally, I'm sort of an expert of these types of competitions. Call me a nerd, but in high school, they were my "thing." Some people play sports, or march in the band. I punched a buzzer and answered questions.
Don't laugh - I won enough savings bonds to help pay for Anna Marie's birth.
Anyway, these kids had studied the questions in advance. There were like five or six people on each team. And still, they only answered about 25% of the questions.
The "buzzers" were sticks with bells on them. That made it difficult for the judges to tell who rang theirs first. Then the crowd would put in their opinion about who had buzzed in first, and it was mass confusion.
Even after the principal and the district superintendent told the crowd to quiet down, they kept going. They laughed at the teams who missed questions. One smarty pants jingled his keys when it was time to answer a questions, somewhat throwing off the judges.
There are many parents in this school's district who either send their kids to private school or out and out lie about their address to get into another zone.
After today, part of me says I can't blame them. If this is how the elementary kids act, what must it be like at the high school?
But part of me says that if all the decent students leave, and all that are left are the troublemakers and those who can't afford the private school, what good does that do?
The poor principal was getting really, really irate. And to top it off, some one had also called a photographer from the Memphis newspaper (50 miles away, which is trying DESPERATELY to get a foothold down here) and he saw the whole thing. I'm sure he was called in because ususally only the the awful things that happen in our county get that kind of coverage, but I'm not so sure these kids gave him a better opinion.
Sheesh. Kids these days.
Now get off my grass and run along home before I call your parents!