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Learning at its Best

Today’s High School Kids

This is cross posted from with the addition of the image.

I had the great fortune to be at Educon 2.4 in Philly last weekend.  Let me go on record AGAIN that the Science Leadership Academy kids are awesome!  I spent the day with some of the most awesome kids on the planet.  They were running a conference for teachers and having a ball at the same time!  Some kids were working the video streaming stations in the conversation rooms, some were running the coat check, some were tending to feeding and watering hundreds of educators, but all were focused, respectful, helpful, and amazing.

I probably interacted with the kids at Educon 2.4 more than I did my Twitterverse.  While I missed meeting several folks I had intended to, I enjoyed my time picking on the kids and listening to their quick comebacks and thoughtful responses.  From the student speaker at the opening night panel discussion to the kids printing out boarding passes and calling cabs as the attendees were leaving,  I was flat out impressed.

My time at my hotel was another story, though.  For the 3rd year in a row, I stayed at the Embassy Suites Center City.  It seems that about 25% of the hotel guests were Educon attendees, about 70% Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) attendees and about 5% were wondering what they had gotten themselves in to.  Let me just tell you…


Both sets of kids are fun-loving, bright, successful, teenagers who had an opportunity to interact with educators from all over the country.

The SLA kids made the most of this, asking questions about what we taught and where we were from and generally being interested in making positive connections. I even picked up a few SLA student followers on Twitter!

The ILMUNC kids I encountered were self-absorbed, entitled, and had fun at the expense of others.  When a hotel has 20+ floors, it is not a good thing to play on the elevators.  It took over 30 minutes for a gentleman who cannot safely walk down a set of stairs to go down a few floors in the elevators.  Apparently, an apple battle took place and some non-teenagers were pelted with apples when the elevator doors opened.  It appears no one has taught these Ivy League UN-ers basic elevator protocol and how to behave in public.  And, it appears neither the hotel nor the chaperones intervened.

The response from the hotel each and every time that I complained was “each of the groups has chaperones.”  My response was, “Maybe on paper, but not in reality.”
When I tried interacting with the ILMUNC kids (not fussing at them, asking them about their debate topics and countries they were representing), only a third or so responded as if they cared.  I was even completely ignored by two of the students at one point.

Am I being too harsh?  I don’t think so.  Am I expecting too much of our young people?  I don’t think so.  Am I expecting too much from the adults that guide and shape our young people?  Nope. The only time I witnessed a chaperone interacting with a student was when a student came to the bar area to check in with a chaperone.  Yes, the chaperone was enjoying the free happy hour while the students were wreaking havoc on the hotel elevators.

The stark contrast between what I encountered at Educon by day and my hotel by night and at breakfast is like a tale of two futures for America.  I choose for my future to be in the hands of the Science Leadership Academy kids!

SLA Sign

About beckyfisher73

DEN Star Educator, NTTI Master Teacher, Director of Educational Technology and Professional Development, former HS math teacher, avid RVer, baseball fan. ____________________________________________________ Becky received a BA and MAT in Physics from the University of Virginia while working as a FORTRAN programmer for the University's Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics. After assisting in an NSF-funded summer institute for Physics teachers, she committed to a career in public education. Over two decades later, she has been a classroom teacher, instructional technology specialist, and central office leader working diligently to change the landscape of public education by ensuring choices are made as close to the learner as possible!


4 thoughts on “Today’s High School Kids

  1. When we talk about the wonder that our students fill us with and how great it is to share in their learning, we tend to fool ourselves into forgetting that they’re still young. And that teenagers are still obnoxious and rude and will act like morons from time to time. I went to college a decade and a half ago, but I remember water fights and beach ball fights in the middle of my dorm hallway, and going on a trip to Europe with a tour group and yelling at one another from the hotel’s balconies because we were away from our parents and it was fun.

    For every kid you have an insightful conversation with, there’s one who won’t give you the time of day. I remind myself of this every morning before the first bell.

    Posted by Tom Panarese | February 4, 2012, 8:21 pm
  2. I too had wonderful conversations with SLA kids; one of the best parts of Educon for me.

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | February 5, 2012, 10:32 am
  3. I wonder if my own students have been so respectful because they are not entitled. Whether it’s a service project or a field trip, there is a sense of awe and wonder.

    Posted by John T. Spencer | February 6, 2012, 2:41 pm
  4. Come visit the room a bit more – hopefully, we’ll strike up some conversations with you that go deeper than this week’s did 🙂 We had a great discussion of game-based learning yesterday –


    Posted by Chad Sansing | February 15, 2012, 12:02 pm

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