It Only Took One Day for My Students To Realize How Out of Touch I Am

As I noted in yesterday’s blog post, today was my first day of classes for the semester.

The course I am teaching is a freshmen-level, Intro to Business course. I typically start each class by sharing and discussing a few articles from that day’s Wall Street Journal. Since this was our first day together, I had a few other things to discuss first, but I eventually got to the Wall Street Journal.

I told them that they should think of the WSJ as a second textbook for the course, and that one of my goals is to make reading the WSJ part of their daily habit. I also said that I realize they may be thinking that at 18 years old, they may not find much of interest in the WSJ. I then I try to show examples of articles that may be of interest to them.

One of the articles in today’s Journal was “Look Out Boomers: The Next Generation of Arena Stars Is Coming“, which noted that while there are still some older acts like The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen that may currently dominate playing at larger arenas, there are some up-and-coming acts that may be primed to replace those vintage performers. I assumed that many of my students are music fans, so they would find this article appealing.

The photo shown above accompanied the article, and I could not identify any of the performers from the image. However, the image did come with the following caption:

Newer music acts are playing to huge crowds. The fresh crop of touring stars includes (from left) Bad Bunny, Tyler, the Creator, Ghost, Harry Styles, and Billie Eilish.

I told my students that I had heard of Harry Styles and Billie Eilish, but that I was not really familiar with their music.

Since I had not read the full article before class, so I started asking about the other names listed.

For example, I said that I had never heard of Bad Bunny, and asked them if Bad Bunny was a group or a person.

There were a few chuckles/looks of disbelief, but it seemed like all my students seemed to know who he was (apparently he’s a pretty big deal; according to the article, he was the most streamed artist on Spotify for the past two years).

I then asked the same question about Tyler, and once again the students responded by telling me who he was.

I then asked about the Creator, and that’s when it dawned on the students that their teacher was completely out of touch with modern culture. They told me that Tyler and the Creator were one and the same person, that his name is Tyler, the Creator. I tried to argue it was a terrible use of a comma, but I had no leg to stand on.

It then dawned on me that I am old and perhaps should stick to talking about debits and credits.

I tried to quickly move on by asking about Ghost, and I got a little bit of satisfaction when I discovered that none of my students had heard of this band (neither had I).

Apparently, according to the article, Ghost is a Swedish rock and roll band. Here’s a brief description:

The band, masterminded by singer-songwriter Tobias Forge, 41, combines occult-themed lyrics with catchy 1970s-ish melodies. Its elaborate stage show includes provocative costumes—Mr. Forge appears in character as a kind of demonic anti-pope—and the band does brisk business with its merchandise.”

Based on that description, it does not seem like the kind of band that I would have any interest in, but I thought I would check out some of their music. Here is a clip from a performance on the Jimmy Kimmell show::

Once I got past their strange outfits, I thought their music was actually pretty good.

So day one is in the books, and perhaps the one lesson that will stick with the students, and me, from today’s class is that there is a bit of a generation gap between teacher and student. But at least none of the students told me that I taught their grandparents…

90 thoughts on “It Only Took One Day for My Students To Realize How Out of Touch I Am

  1. Music moves through the generations … and this sounds familiar to me too. Better add something to your reading and watching list on top of the WSJ. Don’t ask me what though … maybe ask your students 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too have only heard of the same ones you have. I can’t tell you what they sing though! I know I am out of touch. My playlist includes Janet Joplin, Johnny Cash and just to feel modern, Taylor Swift!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this is standard protocol for generational differences. I’ve often noted that being an elementary teacher kept me current about what’s popular with kids. Since I retired, I feel more in the dark.

    I certainly remember times when I thought my parents didn’t know anything. (The flip side was they knew plenty of things I had no idea about.) I know our son sometimes thinks the same about us, though I think he’s learned to appreciate that we’re not completely out of touch. I only hope I live long enough to see the day when his kids think he’s a square or whatever term kids are using by then.

    By the way, we’re flying out to Montana tomorrow, so I’m giving myself a few days off from the blogs. (Don’t put my photo on a milk carton because I’m not missing.)🤣 The first football game is Saturday, and I’m excited to spend some time with him and our future daughter-in-law.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s so easy today to just play the music you grew up with because of tech like Spotify and YouTube. In theold days, you would listen to the radio, and you had little control over wat songs you would hear…


  4. I’m guessing that was comforting to them in a way. gave them a feeling of security and a ‘leg up’ on their professor, during their first year at school away from home and in a course that they may a bit uncomfortable with or wary of. a great unintentional leveler and party trick in a way, show your vulnerability and they may feel the idea of studying ‘business’ may not be as intimidating as they imagined and relax into it.

    as for music, I find it interesting that my grown children and grandies listen to some of the music I listen to, along with their own generation of musicians. I don’t know of any time in history when there was such a crossover. to Pete’s point, teaching and having young people around me, keeps me up on some of the musicians and music, though in my class, Raffi and nursery rhymes rule, so I’m really up on those.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I listen to the new music channel when I am driving, just to try and keep up with new artists and music. But the proliferation of “indie” music makes it an impossible task. I promise you there are some great bands and performers from our era that your students would not recognize either.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m quite out of touch with recent music too. My SIL played some Dark Jazz on the weekend. It’s an interesting genre.
    You may not have taught these students’ grandparents, but many students I taught would now be grandparents. Although I taught primary school, in my first years of teaching, I was only 10 or so years older than the students. They’ve almost caught up to me in the age stakes. 😂 If they and their children were quick breeders, I guess they could have young adult grandchildren now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s nothing wrong with being out of touch with current pop music as it’s all rubbish anyway. I’ve never heard of Ghost either, but on the evidence of the two minutes I managed to endure I can see why. Is 41 Tobias’ age or his IQ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. even though I havenothing to base it on, I have to agree with you. Maybe the proof is that the Stones and Springsteen are still going strong.

      and I’m wondering if you had just heard the audio of the Ghost song if you would have had a different reaction…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s a sweeping generalisation but even ten years ago I could look at the top 100 and count quite a few I owned, whereas if I do it now I have to count the ones I’ve heard. They may be good for all I know, but I can’t be bothered to find out! To me, Billie Eilish is hugely overrated, and is one of those acts it is ‘cool’ to like. The only time I’m cool is when I have the freezer door open.

        I remember my parents telling me that in fifty years no one would be listening to the music I played whereas a lot of what they listened to had stood the test of time. Time has proved them wrong!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I know the other musicians mentioned but had no idea who Ghost was. Weird outfits but their music sounds good. Not what I expected when I saw the outfits though.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Jim, I had only heard of Billie Eilish but I’ve never listened to her music. Terence knows the Harry person and neither of us know the others. This does not worry or surprise me as I don’t read many modern books either. I am perfectly happy with my classic music and classic books with a sprinkling of Indie authors to keep life interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sure your students would not be surprised that you are out of touch with their culture. If it’s any consolation, I have no idea what this Bad Bunny thing is. Perhaps I ought to look it up. Have fun with your new class.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The kids who like Ghost must have parents who liked KISS. I think you impressed the kids with some music knowledge. I have no clue who any of the performers are! My saddest music moment was when my co-teacher asked who Rodgers and Hammerstein are.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my! If you want to be super cool, bring in a record player and The Who albums. My favorite is Live at Leeds. Lots of Tommy songs. Let me know if you want to borrow mine.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Give it time! And remember that while you’re getting older, your students are getting younger. Heck, I’m not sure my millenial daughters would know much about the folks in the picture either. Glad they’re probably closer to my age than your students are to yours and that we all vaguely recall who and what was popular during the time we all lived under the same roof. Even those commonalities, however, have been changing over time as they grew into adults and I now have more senior moments. Can’t wait to see how throwing grandkids into the mix someday will change that dynamic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. goodp oints. All my kids heard me play in our hose was music fromt eh 70s, so they grew up knowing that era pretty well. I, on the other hand, did not learn much about the music they were listening to…


Comments are closed.