School children – NOW and THEN

Lucie Havlíčková

Nowadays, we hear many people complaining about today’s children. They remember children twenty and more years ago, and they wish today’s children were the same. But are children much worse than years ago? If so, what is the main cause? 


On the internet, we can find many different types of studies dealing with changes in the behaviour of school children in recent decades. But who would know pupils better than a teacher with many years of experience?  I decided to interview a teacher who has been teaching for many years. 

An interview

Irena– Russian Language and Music

Age: 61 

Length of teaching practice: 36 years (34 years – educational consultant at elementary school)

Have you noticed any negative differences between pupils today and pupils at the beginning of your career?

I see a big difference. In some ways, today’s pupils are better, but after 36 years of teaching, I mostly see the negatives. Children used to be more independent. They were able to arrange a lot of different things. They were also more hard-working and maybe tidier. The most significant difference is in their behaviour to teachers and parents. In the past, the children were obedient. Of course, they sometimes refused to follow instructions, but it is different today. In the last ten years, we hear about the bullying of teachers. This barely existed in the past.

When I teach, I don’t like the fact that children are not interested in school subjects. They are not competitive and eager to try new things. They are not interested in learning new languages, browsing maps, reading books or creating things. They spend all their free time on their mobile phones or tablets. They are addicted to them. The problem is that this activity is of hardly any benefit to them, and we don’t know how to stop it. Another important thing is their behaviour to adults. They don’t greet them, and they despise old people. They mock, imitate or laugh at disabled people – I see all this on a daily basis. I believe that this shows our quality and it also represents our nationality. But maybe I can’t blame the children themselves. Perhaps it’s because they don’t have to try hard in their lives, as previous generations did, and this is the result. 

In which ways are today’s pupils better?

Our modern way of life has some positive effects on children as well. For example, they are more courageous than previous generations. They are not afraid to discuss various topics and even delicate themes. That’s a big difference when compared with my generation, for example.  They are also willing to travel for work or to study abroad. That’s because they live in a democracy.


Is there any difference in the parents’ approach?

I see a big difference in their approach to children’s school attendance. In the past, parents followed instructions on how to raise children from different institutions, and I believe that these instructions and advice were good. Most children were well educated. The situation started to change after the Velvet Revolution. Some parents take care of their children too much; they argue with teachers, and their ambitions are exaggerated. On the other hand, there are busy parents who don’t take care of their children. I remember the parents who left their son in the after-school club till 5 p.m. This is not unusual, of course – but the boy was a first grader, and it was June 30th. 

I believe that understanding the child’s soul is a crucial part of education at school and at home. However, many young parents can’t do this. By the time they learn it, their children are grown up. Even I learned how to do it just a few years before retirement.


Collection of Cartoon Pics of Children. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2018, from

SCHOOL – NOW AND THEN. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2018, from