Thursday, February 4, 2010
Sometimes it hits you: You're an old man
As most of you know, I am working as a teacher at a middle school and high school in France. Not to say I'm a straight up official teacher with tests and homework. I'm more like that American they bring in 12 hours a week to speak English with the kids.
Well, on occasion I do cover for the other teachers. One teacher recently asked me to watch her class of...I guess the equivalent would be 5th graders, so she could go see her mother in the hospital. She gave me the movie the "Lion King" and told me to show it to them. Easy enough, right? Its like babysitting...if you were babysitting twenty something kids at once, and one of them threw up halfway through the film. But that's a story for another time...
Anyway as we're watching the film, the kids are constantly asking me to switch it to French or to at least turn on subtitles so they can understand it. No can do, I explain to the rugrats. It doesn't have French dubbing or subtitles. Its a VHS, a cassette tape...looks like it came out about the same time as the movie itself.
Still they persisted. "Turn on the subtitles please! Can you put it in French?" Again I explained that it was impossible because it was not a DVD. "Sure its possible, just go to the 'menu'. It should be under options"
That's when I realized something....
Holy crap, these kids have never had to deal with VHS before. They just assume if I hit 'menu' on the remote control, it will bring up a list of special features and chapter selection. I tried to explain that DVDs can do that but VHS doesn't have that feature...that this was not a DVD at all but a tape...but they just couldn't wrap their heads around it.
I'm teaching an entire generation who has never had to deal with VHS! They've never had to rewind the movies they rented before they returned them to the store! They've never had to blow on the cartridges of their video games to get them to work...They've never made a mix tape for a girl they liked or had to handroll the film on a cassette tape because it got tangled up in the player. They've never seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off. There's never been in a time for them when Saved by the Bell was on five times a day.
They've never had to use an Encyclopedia to write a paper for school. They have no idea what the Dewey Decimal System is. They've never played Oregon Trail or tracked down Carmen Sandiego based on what currency she changed her money into. They don't even HAVE different currencies for half the countries Carmen hangs out in anymore, they're all on the Euro. They've never known a world without email, without cell phones, without instant messaging...
It was a rude awakening...its only a matter of time before I'm yelling at kids to get off my lawn.