Sometimes being an educator is like being on a ferris wheel - you take off all buckled in - you think it's going to be fun - you keep going around in circles - and you end up where you started. Culture, society and families keep changing with every circumference of the circle you travel, but some traits of children remain the same. They need structure, discipline, caring adults, role models, high expectations, encouragement, love etc.
Then again, some things have changed about children. School-age kids in 2008 (most,not all)have grown up being constantly entertained and are used to immediate gratification. They have participated in sports where everyone is a winner. They have been rewarded for doing homework and learning.
How does this translate in school? : Children who want to be entertained all day, be rewarded for doing their work and who don't have the tools necessary to deal with disappointment.
Then there are video games. Excessive violence in games + domestic violence = children who learn to react violently to everything.
Some five year-olds now come to school without knowing colors, shapes, letters or numbers, and yet the bar has been raised on kindergarten. The state says children should be able to read and do basic math before first grade!
So who teaches these kids how to take turns, how to wait in line without pushing and cutting, how to follow directions and complete work without a reward? Who teaches them manners and basic information? Who teaches them that fighting is not an option and that in real life sometimes you lose the game? TEACHERS.
If you are reading this then I am certain you are a parent who instills all those values and disciplines in your children. But be aware that your child's teacher has to spend a great amount of time teaching all that, plus refereeing and motivating children who haven't had the benefit of your kind of parenting. Whew! I'm exhausted!