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AROUND THE NABERHOOD: This year’s freshmen were born in 2002, try looking at it from their perspective

Many of you may not realize this, and you may find it hard to believe, but six years ago I was gearing up to be a high school teacher. It turns out that after holding parent-teacher conferences, I’d rather deal with bucking broncs and ornery grizzlies than duke it out with badgering or apathetic parents. (The kids were fine; their parents were another story entirely.)

Anyway, as each school year begins it’s a good idea for teachers to take a step back and think about what the world is like from their students’ perspective — and it can be pretty bizarre.

My youngest brother is 16, and in a recent conversation with him he asked who Dick Cheney is — which makes sense; Cheney is too recent to be in the history books, but was out of office around the time my brother was mastering the fine art of reading books without illustrations in them.

Most “first memories” are made between ages 4-7, but solid memories of the world don’t really set in until age 10, according to psychology professor Carole Peterson and colleagues from Canada’s Memorial University of Newfoundland.

This year’s high school freshmen were born in 2002. That means they have some fuzzy memories from 2006, but it’s likely limited to playtime and family events. Their greater world perspective likely didn’t set in until roughly 2010.

I’ve got boots older than that.

So with that in mind, here’s a look into the mindset of the Class of 2020.

  • Super heroes have never been just for nerds.
  • Video game addiction is real and rehab programs for it have always existed. They’ve likely lost a friend or two to Minecraft or World of Warcraft.
  • They’ve always been able to Google everything. Google is their duct tape and WD-40, it’s the answer to every question.
  • YouTube is their MTV and preferred mode of learning new things — and it has always existed.
  • TV has always been available in high definition.
  • Hillary’s husband has never been president.
  • Cellphones have always had touch screens and internet access, as far as they can remember, and iPads have been around for the majority of their lifetime.
  • The Twin Towers never existed in their lifetime.
  • The Bush/Cheney presidency ended around the time they learned to read. Coincidentally, Twitter has been around since before they could write.
  • The Kardashians have always been famous and Dora has always been exploring.
  • Hybrid cars have always existed, as have reality TV shows, gluten-free sections in the grocery store and the option to stream movies at home.
  • They likely can’t remember a time when the entire Harry Potter series wasn’t available in both book and movie formats.
  • They’ve never used a cassette tape and likely never touched a VCR either — so the concept of “be kind, please rewind” is as foreign to them as waiting until after 9 p.m. to make a call on a cell phone to avoid extra charges.
  • Their options for shopping have never been limited to what’s in the store.
  • Grandma has always been on Facebook. Meanwhile, MySpace has always been dead.
  • References to “Lost” will likely be lost on them — the final season aired when they were about 8 years old.

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