Joel and I get to deal with teenagers and early twenty-somethings on a regular basis. All of our students are in that age group (most, anyway...I've had a few "moms" to teach here and there). In the last few years it has become apparent that this age group does not know how to communicate like the rest of the human race.
Telephone? Forget it. They never answer, listen to voice mail, or call you back.
E-mail? They might read it once a week, and if they do, they certainly don't know how to hit the reply button.
In person? This occasionally works. But only if you catch them at a really good time.
Nope. These people communicate in two mediums and two mediums only: Texting and Facebook.
The only reason I got myself a Facebook account a couple years ago was so that I could actually get a hold of my students (of course, it's become a monster since then and I use it for much more than that!). Joel (who is really quite adamantly against such things) finally succumbed last summer and signed up. It is fairly effective for getting in contact with these kids, or sending mass communications and such.
Texting, though, is even better. The only problem with both of these modes of communication is that you basically have to learn a new language to even decipher your messages. Thankfully, teenagers still understand English (but who knows how long that will last?), so we really only need a reading fluency here. I know a few of the acronyms from hanging out on message boards online, but admittedly, lots of them I have to look up.
Joel, on the other hand, is completely lost in the land of text-speak.
For example, the other night, Joel was grading tests at home and we had the following conversation.
Joel: What does IDK mean?
Me: I don't know.
Joel: I really wish these kids wouldn't put answers like this on tests. Now I guess I need to go look it up.
Me: Joel. I told you. It means "I don't know."
Like I said, I often have to look up things beyond your basic LOL, OMG, IDK, ROFL, LMBO and ROFLMBO. A few days ago Joel received a text from a student while we were driving and asked me to read it to him. I thought I knew who it was from until at the end it said PLH.
Me: Who is PLH?
Joel: Nobody. I don't have any student with those initials. Besides, they have all been putting that at the end of texts lately.
Me: What does it mean?
Joel: I have no idea. I just ignore it.
It bugged me enough that I sat there trying to figure out what this unfamiliar acronym could possibly mean. People Live Here? Pierrot Lunaire's Hair? Please Leave Hamburgers?
Then we looked it up: Peace, Love, Happiness.
Ahhhh, of course.
Obviously, I'm not as text-speak fluent as I had hoped.
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