I’ve been very lucky this school year–working at a performing arts magnet school, students seem to be far more pleasantly disposed towards English, which gets less respect in general. It’s the class where students sometimes come in thinking, “I already speak this language. What else do I really need to know?” I’ve heard kids say, “Why are we doing this?” far less often this year than any other year, by far.
But on occasion I still hear kids assuming that they already know everything in English worth knowing. Maybe this is an extension of the “teenagers know everything” meme, but this seems like a specific example.
This wouldn’t bother me so much if it extended to other subjects, also, but it doesn’t. Math and science teachers, feel free to chime in, but while I’ve heard countless young people opine, “I’m sixteen and I’ve never heard of that author yet, therefore he can’t be any good,” I’ve never heard a student say, “I’ve never heard of that equation or element, therefore it can’t possibly be important.”