Faculty reflections on Gen Z

by Alexander Chang (’23) | October 7, 2022

Photography by Paige Allen (’23)

Portions of interviews have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Every generation has its quirks, but educational institutions like Saint Francis are one of the few places where generations intermingle on a daily basis. The Lancer decided to take to the classrooms and interview a few members of our faculty to see their perspectives on the budding Generation Z.

The Lancer: What is your general opinion of Gen Z?

Ms. Rachel Safier: I think your generation has been traumatized by the pandemic…and there’s a deep need for being social. In some cases being social is more important than getting homework done. I think it’s a good balance actually. 

Ms. Stacy Dawson: I don’t know? I like them…they’re pretty cool. We have a lot of fun. They’re more fun than the people older than me.

Mr. John Foy: Well, I think that you live in a time when we have fairly immediate media that is very short, and there is no common or shared media beyond an app. 

Mrs. Lesley Shortal: I’m not quite sure what Gen Z is…I don’t know if I have formulated a lot of thoughts on Gen Z. I think living in Silicon Valley, there’s a lot of pressure on your generation in an academic sense and in the general state of the world. 

Ms. Kelly Walsh: Um…they like their screens.

Mr. Michael Chechelnitsky: [It’s] an absolute all-time high in human history regarding emotional IQ. The unfortunate side effect of that is that it’s constant. A lot of people are constantly reflecting which sometimes creates more anxiety, but they’re [also] kinder to one another. As a whole, I think that the analysis of one’s own behavior is held to a higher standard. All in all, it’s a lovely, lovely generation.

TL: Do you think that there’s a certain aspect of our generation that could be improved upon?

RS: From what I understand, students are coming from a generation that doesn’t read very much. 

SD: Read more books.

JF: I would recommend that you guys read books.

MC: Connecting to my previous answer, the problem with constantly self-analyzing is that it creates situations where mental fortitude is harder. It’s like: Ok, I’m afraid, so I won’t do it. It’s easier to go “Ugh I’m a scared shameful human. That’s just who I am.” Sometimes you just have to value mental strength and just force yourself to do it. 

TL: Deep and insightful answers! Now let’s see if our educators have been keeping up with contemporary lingo. What do you think yassify means? 

RS: Um…yassify…Yassify is to make lemonade out of lemons.

SD: It’s yass. It’s yass. I know what yass is. It’s yass. 

JF: I think it means to make incredible?

LS: I’m not sure but it sounds like ossify. 

KW: I have no idea.

MC: I hear a yass kind of like a yass queen almost in there? So like turning something into something we’re going to celebrate. I’ve never heard that before though. 

TL: What do you think hot girl walk means?

RS: When I think “hot girl walk” I think of a girl who walks with confidence, shoulders back, head high. Would I engage in hot girl walks? Um, no.

JF: I don’t know what that is, but it sounds like something I should not be engaging in. 

LS: I’m not sure but it sounds pretty demeaning.

KW: Walking on the beach?

MC: A hot girl walk? Is that like a hot girl summer? Is it like presenting yourself proudly?

TL: What do you think slay means? 

JF: Slay is like when somebody does something notable. Like somebody tells somebody off and everyone is like “slay queen!”

LS: I knew this at some point. Rad? That’s not right, but I’ll just say that. 

KW: Isn’t that to be really good at something?

MC: Oh that one’s easy. It means to kill it. 

TL: What do you think serving is?

SD: All I can think of is serving people their due…revenge? And I support that. 

MC: I assume it’s something about showing off. Like you just got served. 

TL: Beautiful. 

The Lancer also decided to show our faculty a few lovely TikToks based on common trends to garner their reactions:

Trend One: “What are you listening to?”

RS: Sorry what? Um…it’s really unusual.

JF: I guess it’s funny because she starts randomly dancing? Perhaps high school students find sudden chaos amusing?

LS: I think people spend a lot of time wasting time on this media platform. I don’t know what this is.

KW: Once again they’re addicted to their earbuds too.

MC: What did she say? [chuckles] Oh man. Okay. I mean obviously it’s…it’s…There’s something about the song?

TL: Trend Two: “Are you serving today?”

RS: Served? What is she serving? I do not understand most of what you are saying. She’s just acting like…her body looks like Gumby.

JF: So in that one, it’s in my understanding that there is a classic confusion of meaning in the word? 

LS: So bizarre, and a waste of time. I don’t know what is happening but it seems like a waste of time? 

KW: Probably some dance trend I’m unaware of? 

MC: [chuckles] It’s funny. I like it.

And with that The Lancer has given a slight glimpse of the faculty perspective in student-teacher connections. It seems that there might be a few differences between generations lost in translation, but perhaps the student body can take some of the pieces of advice to heart. The complete agreement among educators that Gen Z has forgotten how to read might be a place to start. Regardless, The Lancer hopes that both the student body and faculty can mutually exchange parts of each other’s lives in order to build an even stronger Lancer community.

Categories: Features

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