What is this about generations in the work place?

I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation last night about the generations in the work place.  It is a very interesting idea to think about.  I always thought that I was a young baby boomer, but I didn’t think that I fit the profile of a baby boomer. I do have the belief that I can change the world, but I don’t  think that I need to sacrifice my time with family and friends to do it.

I was relieved to find out that I am an older gen X instead and that profile makes more sense to me.  Generation X is can be described as being  independent (me to a fault), resourceful and self-sufficient.  They can also be optimistic (always!), assertive, positive and friendly.  Take a look at this video featuring Karen McMullough and how she describes me…the generation X.

I had never given much thought to generations in the work place before except to consider the net  or Y generation.  I have to admit that they scare me a little with their can do attitude and self-confidence abounding.  This is the generation that has always, and continues to, grow up using all types of technology and being comfortable with it.  Not so very long ago I read the book, Grown-Up Digital, by Don Tapscott and I came away from the reading with what I thought was a new understanding of the net generation.  I started to realize the impact this generation was having on all aspects of our lives from economy to politics to global perspectives.  I also started to realize that we were boring the “growing up digital” generation in our classrooms, by not changing our pedagogy and “sage on the stage” ideas about teaching.

Those of you who know me, will know that I have taken it upon myself to encourage the staff in my school to integrate technology into their classrooms and teaching wherever it makes sense to do so.  I have met with some resistance from some teachers who feel that technology should only be used after everything else is taught. I can’t really decide if this attitude is generational or not.   I do know these teachers  do not see technology as a vehicle for knowledge, engagement, collaboration, thinking and creating.

I have spent a great deal of time reflecting about my leadership style and skills this year in my quest to improve myself and the way I come across to people.  One of the things that I learned was I can be impatient with people when they do not understand my passions.  I can get very passionate about technology and students!  How can I share this passion with others without coming across like a bulldozer and scaring people away or making them mad?

One of the best things that I did this year was get a few teachers on board with me to try to integrate some simple technology into math for assessment purposes, both teacher and student.  I did the leg work and applied for a grant and away we went.  I tried to keep extra teacher load down to a minimum and allowed everyone freedom, with support.

Wow!  We had such a good time doing the project together and grew closer as a staff team.  One of the best things that came out of it, was exactly what I was hoping for.  The teachers involved had a very positive experience.  I think we all did.  They told other teachers what we were up to and the great things about it.  The news spread and other teachers wished they had agreed to jump on board as well.  This had more effect on the staff then all of the presentations I have made at staff meetings all year.

I am already planning to do another technology project next year, this time focusing on web 2.0 tools in middle years social studies.  I am hoping that it will have the same effect and news will spread again.  Time will tell, but I am counting on it!