As Baby Boomer teachers retire and are replaced by members of Generation Y (born between 1977 and 1995) we have come to appreciate that Gen Y employees have a very different set of characteristics shaped by a far different set of life experiences.
They are . . .
- Highly educated, value education and attribute their success to education;
- Very comfortable using technology and expect it to be available in the workplace;
- Tend to be creative, innovative and self-confident;
- Committed to making a difference and contributing to positive social change;
- Want to be connected, updated and included and involved in their work;
- Desire relationships with co-workers and supervisors;
- Looking for opportunities for growth, challenging work and assignments and flexibility in work schedules;
- Possess collaborative skills, are committed to team-building and expect to be held accountable.
So, what are some strategies for working with Gen Y teachers? A report from the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (www.tqsource.org) identified ten strategies. They include recognizing their unique qualities and how they differ from teachers born in prior generations. They also suggest:
- establishing a shared vision and goals with Gen Y teachers
- encouraging shared leadership
- creating a positive, supportive and welcoming school culture
- involve Gen Y teachers in decisions and welcome their feedback
- value the gathering and use of data about student learning and instructional practices
- providing open, honest and personalized support and mentoring.
I hope you find the ideas thought-provoking. While the tools are not new, the application to Gen Y teachers is different than it would be for Baby Boomers. Just as Baby Boomers changed American society, so will Gen Y. They hold tremendous potential for making a difference in the lives of American students. I'd enjoy hearing from you about your experience with Generation Y teachers.