Every generation always looks at the youngsters below them and believes “we weren’t anything like that!” I know I’m totally going to sound like an old fuddy duddy, but I’m going to say it any way. Times sure have changed! During the spring semester, my fiancé and I were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to work on a choreography project together for a high school’s production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. It has been a very long time since I worked with high school students and especially a mixed crowd of trained dancers and then those with a huge heart but only a tad bit of coordination. I think the last time I taught high school aged students, outside of those at dance studios, was when I was in high school myself.
Without a doubt, the times have changed and so have the generations rising below me. I remember being afraid to raise my hand and ask a question because I worried I would disrupt a rehearsal. My fellow performers and I had the utmost respect for the Director, Musical Director, Stage Manager and Choreographer. We took whatever instructions and feedback they gave us as if it was a law that was set in stone. I wouldn’t fathom telling them how to do their job, yelling at them across the theater or disrespectfully throwing a hissy fit and yet we encountered all of the above during this experience.
I can’t help but be more than slightly frightened for their futures. They have grown up in an age of instant gratification and adults tip toeing around so as not to upset their fragile little egos. I hate to be this blunt, but what the heck does that prepare them for in life? There comes a point when students need to learn that mommy and daddy can’t always make a phone call because someone upset them, otherwise HR companies all across the globe better hunker down for phones to be ringing off the hook. I would have imagined that by the time these high school students were approaching their junior and senior year that they would appreciate the independence of being treated like a real adult. Apparently I was very wrong!