The mythical Gen Z. Who are they? What do they want? And more importantly, why should you hire them to teach at your educational institution?
Gone are the days of buttoned-up schoolmarms, banging meter sticks against the chalkboard, ruling their students with an iron fist. Today’s newest crop of future educators is anything but old school. They’re caring and passionate about each child who walks through their virtual or in-person classroom.
So, will you give them a job?
Why you should hire Gen Z teachers
For those who are unfamiliar with Generation Z, this is one special segment of our population. Forget what you’ve seen on social media, this cohort of folks is here to make sure that every child has a chance to succeed.
Whoever said, “Nobody wants to work anymore,” has either never had a teaching job or is looking for an employee who has no boundaries and will answer calls in the dead of night. Gen Z does want to work and they want to educate. They do, however, have boundaries which are an important part of what makes a workplace succeed. More on that in a bit.
As an educator yourself or someone who is employed by a school board and involved in the hiring process, give Gen Z a chance. Here’s why:
Financial security = long-term hires
Gen Z has grown up around Millennials and Gen X. They’re aware of what it takes to succeed and understand that to make a difference, they’ll need financial stability. Instead of working two or three jobs and participating in the gig economy, Gen Z wants a competitive salary with the possibility of promotions and raises. They’re willing to work somewhere where the cost of living is lower in order to pursue teaching and that could even mean starting a new adventure overseas.
Here’s where you come in. You can hire teachers from this generation from anywhere in the world because the recruitment process is easier than ever. And the same goes for Gen Zers. Getting certified to teach in a different country, once you’ve finished your post-secondary education is a no-brainer. Everybody wins, especially the students who will be taught by this new crop of teachers.
Climate change = a focus on STEM
This generation cares deeply about the environment. They not only reduce, reuse, and recycle, they compost, and wear vintage clothing (aka pre-loved garments), and if climate activists like Greta Thunberg are any indication, they’re engaged in the discourse surrounding a sustainable world.
Because of this hyper-focus on the environment and the damage caused by climate change, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is a must. Generation Z won’t be about assigning science homework just to get through the curriculum in time for standardized testing or end-of-term exams. This group of people will be teaching STEM to prepare children for the future of our planet.
No matter where your financial institution is based, you won’t be immune to our changing climate. Letting Gen Z teachers into your school is a great way to promote STEM and they may even foster the next generation of activists, who like them, want to make the world a better place.
Diversity = representation for future generations
According to a report from Pew Research Center, 48% of those born between 1997-2012 (Gen Z) are considered ethnic or racial minorities. This is a generation that cares about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and you should too. When choosing an employer, this group looks for companies that have DEI initiatives which you may already have in place at your school.
The classroom should look like the real world and not a whitewashed portrait. Moreover, education should be for all not just a certain demographic who can afford it and that’s what Gen Z is all about.
When shaping young minds, representation matters. In fact, it matters in all fields, not just education. Children who see themselves reflected back because their teachers look like them, have a better chance of succeeding. Plus, Zers have grown up during a political divide and 60% of them think that increasing DEI is a step in the right direction for society as a whole (according to a We Are Teachers report).
Prioritizing mental health = a better classroom environment
For this generation, the struggle is real but they’re working to overcome it. Gen Z believes focusing on helping children with disabilities or special learning needs can lead to better interactions with their peers and an overall better classroom situation. Instead of leaving children with issues to fend for themselves, Zers promote coping abilities for all and not just those who come from a strong financial background.
Now, let’s get into those boundaries that we mentioned above. For this generation, boundaries are a key part of what makes them so special. They prioritize their own mental health as well as those around them which equates to taking time out for reflection, relaxation, and therapy. This isn’t to say that Gen Z will call in sick multiple times per week, but it does signify that they are more comfortable telling their employers when they need time to heal or process certain situations.
Basically, if you call one of your younger employees after the work day is over, they will only answer if it’s an emergency. All companies should function like this and use this generation as a model of what inputting boundaries look like so as to not wear out employees. When teachers are mentally drained, it can lead to not only poor performance for the educator but for the students as well.
Technology = teaching without limits
In this day and age, embracing tech in the classroom is a must, and who better to incorporate it into lesson plans than digital natives? Generation Z grew up with the Internet. They’ve been using technology since they were youngsters and have become the go-to IT fixers in their families. When Grandpa can’t turn on his smart TV, who does he call? His Gen Z grandkids.
Do you want to equip your students with tech that will help the learning process? Generation Z has you covered. They’re always on top of the latest trends and can work technology like they were born with it – which they were. There are so many great tools out there can can be integrated into the classroom to produce incredible scholastic results, and this generation sees no limits to what technology can add to an educational setting.
Are you on board yet?
For those interested in hiring Gen Z, and we think you should because they will make excellent educators, it’s not as hard as you think. Ideal candidates who will perform at a high-level, and care about education and how it can be used to further a child’s life are out there. You might as well be the first to help them secure their path to educational leadership.