Dr. Robin BuchlerSuperintendent

Every generation comes with a unique set of opportunities for our teachers in the classroom. Generation Z (Gen Z) students are no exception. Gen Z students, approximately 65 million strong, were born between 1995 and 2012. In order to effectively teach our Gen Z students, it is important to have a deep understanding of what is important to them, how they learn, and what influences them.

According to Hanover Research, creativity is important to 80% of Gen Z and they describe themselves as “empowered, connected, empathetic self-starters.” Eighty-nine percent feel optimistic about their financial future and 60% want to change the world for the better.

Gen Z students prefer individualistic learning and a model-to-application approach. They are frugal, realistic, and career-driven. Gen Z are very comfortable communicating via images and tend to be more focused on the now. They are attracted to accelerated programs, flexible start dates, and pre-assessments that allow them to move more quickly and efficiently to and through college. Though they are very skilled in digital technology, they may still need to be trained on how to use devices and apps for academic purposes. Gen Z appreciate teachers who are able to strike a balance between being personable and fun while not trying too hard. They are looking for practical outcomes and learn well through success stories. They are not time-wasters and appreciate getting to the point sooner.

Gen Z students were raised by parents who taught them to work and think strategically and make trade-offs. They were shaped by news of school shootings and domestic terrorism. Influenced by growing up during the Great Recession, they are relatively conservative when it comes to their finances, thus, expect to get more for their money. They prefer high speed delivery and opt for utility and quality over brand. Gen Z are much more critical of the tone and quality of marketing and have developed a filtering mechanism to manage the overwhelming amount of information readily available to them.

Gen Z students are quick to let folks know what works for them and what does not. For a classroom teacher, this should be looked at as a gift. They are not pushovers and future employers will see this in their interviews.

Every generation comes their own set of unique characteristics. Gen Z will undoubtedly keep everyone they interact with on their toes. Knowing how they think and what is important to them will certainly pave the way for their successful and productive journey.