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What has changed in the high school class rooms since the 90s?
I graduated from high school in 2003. I went to two high schools, one in North Carolina for 3 years, the other in Utah for one. In North Carolina, we had 7 classes a day. The biggest things were sports, school spirit, and 90’s music. There wasn’t a big thing about cell phones, the internet was still in its infancy with most of us on dial up, and most of the iconic TV shows were still airing new episodes or hadn’t come out yet. For us teenaged guys, the big thing was whatever season it was for sports. Free time was spent outside, and when outside, during the winter it was street hockey or basketball, in the spring it was baseball, in the summer it was swimming, and in the fall it was football. For me personally, at school, summer was marching band camp where we worked our butts off, and the school year was all about band for extracurriculars. It helped with popularity for me that while our football team sucked, we had a state competition level marching band that usually scored in the top three, so the school body was all sorts of proud of us. I also remember when the issue first came up of peer to peer sharing on the internet. LimeWire and IceWire were the thing for a bit before the elites ruled it ‘piracy’. Forget anything small to play it on either. You burned it onto a CDR and then played that thing on a CD player so big it wouldn’t fit into your pocket. For the teenaged girls, it was a mystery to us guys what most of them were up to and what was big with them, unless you had a girlfriend, then SHE WAS THE CENTER OF YOUR WORLD. None of this ‘bros before hoes’ crap, no. She knew us all and if any of us tried that, she would come down on all of us like the wrath of God. And talk about territorial. In one high school nearby, two girls got into a razor blade fight with each other, with major lacerations, because one girl looked at the other girl’s boyfriend for too long. There wasn’t any texting, there weren’t instant messages, Skype wasn’t a thing, and none of the gaming consoles connected to the internet. Most of the time was spent outside with friends and loved ones. There were block parties a lot. If someone moved, well, you’d better hope for a letter over the Postal Service or you’d never hear from them again. Parents also didn’t worry about their kids as much. As long as there were three teenagers on the block, the parents were fine because t knew those older kids wouldn’t let anything happen to the younger ones. Hell, I had a several hundred acre forest that ended with my neighborhood, and every afternoon every boy in the neighborhood was out in it horsing around. Parents only said ‘be back by the time the sun goes down.’ The attitude that seemed to persist from NC to UT was ‘let them figure it out.’ Even the teachers acted like this, with classes teaching you why you do something a certain way as much as how to do it. There was barely any memorization aside from formulas and historical dates. Going to the movies was also much bigger then than it is now. Movies back then were awesome, with very little of the politics miring down movies today. The Matrix was huge all through my high school years, despite it being a year old after I became a freshman. The Lord of the Rings, Castaway, Shrek, these all came out while I was in high school and it wasn’t at all uncommon for entire classes to meet up on the weekend and see them, or for teachers who were ahead on their curriculum to schedule a field trip to see movies PG-13 and down (permission slip anyone?) or simply play a movie in class. Then the September 11 attacks happened. At that point, school life shifted dramatically. Even in high school, it was like an illusion of peace had been shattered and we suddenly knew that we could be attacked. Worse for my high school (I lived next to Fort Bragg), we knew that our parents were going to war. Many of our student body’s parents did in fact ship off to war, putting a somber mood on the school. The school body started paying attention more to our JROTC students and a lot more emphasis was placed on friendship and kindness to each other. Hopefully this gives you a bit of a glimpse into how it was for me in high school.
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If you have a kid in high school now or going to school, please think of this information during high school as well. You'll see a lot more of how the social rules have changed from what I experienced to what kids today.