Today in the workplace one will find themselves in the atmosphere to a generational tug-of-war on how best to educate our youngest citizens with best practices. Baby Boomers (birth years 1946 – 1964) are closing in on retirement age but are working longer than ever before with the thought “this is how we use to do it”. A new work force of Gen Xers (birth years 1965 – 1980) who are stepping into leadership positions of lead teachers, curriculum specialists, college instructors/assistant professors that are sought out by many. Then to round out with the Millennials (birth years 1981-2000) who are technologically savvy and cannot truly understand the reservation of Baby Boomers not embracing it to get work completed more effectively.
Therefore, administrators and others in leadership roles must learn how to manage, motivate and mix the generational strengths to produce the best learning environment for children/students. Here’s a generational breakdown to think about and how to work with all to achieve the right formula for the atmosphere for children, their family members and stakeholders at large.
Baby Boomers do not prefer to just communicate via phone or email but discuss topics face-to-face. Give praise publicly to know they are appreciated for the work being done when not compensated monetarily. There is a level of knowledge and experiences that younger educators can benefit from their wisdom.
Gen Xers seek to have more control of their time and work with the freedom or flexibility to ask for input on how to resolve matter, as needed. Due to being in the middle, this group feel at time they are overlooked so it is important to heard their voice and embed solutions when can for resolution. For professional development they will prefer to attend webinars to advance knowledge. The administrators must show an interest in their future and assist with resources to move them toward completion. Do not be afraid to let them have the opportunity to lead and be role models/mentors for other educators.
Millennials truly thrive in a structured environment with clear set performance goals. After presented they will work diligently to meet those goals set and beyond expectations. This group needs to hear how they are doing so feedback either positive or negative is needed for job enhancements. Utilize the technology expertise of theirs to teach Boomers and Gen Xers how to use social media and other devices that can be used to keep parents abreast of what is happening in classroom and school at large.
It is important to understand the generational differences to benefit the overall success of school site and implementation of programs. When each generations is invited to the table to share the strengths and showcase leadership skills one will see a positive change in the learning environment.