Monday, August 28, 2006

Shakespeare Just Ain't Cool (And Teachers Can't Be Hip)

I am a first year teacher, but I have an anecdote that I feel I will be telling new teachers for years to come. About a week ago I realized the inevitable: Teachers cannot under any circumstances be cool. I don’t care if you’re a teach who wears jeans, or if you never give out homework…by becoming a teacher, you give up the cool. Any teacher who thinks they are hip, or cool, or “down” with their students are incredibly deluded in their role in their students life. A teacher will be an advocate, will hold a student’s hand, will uplift a student…but being defined as hip just isn’t going to happen.

My realization came hard: I was in Barclays, a teacher supply store in Brooklyn, NY. Visions of chalk holders and construction paper danced in my head as I wandered the aisles and gazed at all the opportunities and potential just waiting to happen. My passion would shine through, I’d get kids excited about learning…they’d come to love books and reading and academics as much as I did! I saw a life-sized cut out of William Shakespeare, and fell in love. Only, how could I justify buying it? I wondered.

I know! I could put a hip hat like the kids are wearing these days on him, and then Shakespeare would be really cool, or rad, or neat, or fly as the kids would say.

WARNING! WARNING! The bells in my head went off at that moment, and they were loud. It was at that moment exactly, that I realized I’m never going to be that cool teacher I always pictured myself being. Shakespeare with a hat is still a 200 year old dead white guy, and kids don’t relate well to stuff like that all the time. And, I though, I must not relate well to the students because while Shakespeare decked out in Homie-Wear may be an awesome SNL skit, I’m working with an audience who may not know what SNL stands for. I’m the adult, the authority figure, and worst of all, and academic…Cool just isn’t on my page.


Blogger NYC Educator said...

I think you're right. If you want to be effective, you're gonna have to be somewhat of an authority figure. If you aren't the authority in your room, someone else will be, and your class will be a waste of time.

You have to trick them, seduce3 them into appreciating any kind of literature, let alone Shakespere.

But it's very satisfying when you manage to get away with it.

Monday, August 28, 2006 4:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww! Yeah...I hear you.

Good luck tomorrow!! :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 4:02:00 PM  

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