I love memes as much as the next person. My sister made a gif of herself for fun. For me, as long as some unsuspecting person is not the center of the joke, I am okay, and as long as it’s in decent taste, I’m cool with it.
In education, we need as many laughs as we can get. I always use to say during a tough day “girl, if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.” I cannot count the number of hilarious teacher memes that cross my feed on social media everyday. There are very few that I have not identified with. It seems in the human experience we always find common ground in striving and the greater struggle. That can be a beautiful thing.
However, what happens when some of the education memes get a little well…inappropriate or downright hateful? What happens when the beautiful survival and common struggle starts to morph into a huge joke? Here are my thoughts on that.
Memes are fun…as long as they are appropriate.
I am not going to sit here like a Sally-Do-Good and pretend I have not laughed at a brash teacher meme that popped up in my feed that summed up an awful day or teaching experience. We have ALL thought those thoughts about state testing, an awry class, lesson plans, overburdening administrations and districts, salaries and benefits, legislations, sanitization, unsupportive parents and more. We deal with quite a bit.
It’s like that that data analysis packet you have to have done for all of your classes completed in two days for a district assessment that you would rather douse in kerosene on your grandfather’s farm in a metal barrel and drop a lit match in slow motion on the pile? Ah, yes…that packet. We have all had hilarious thoughts about that. Then we complete the packet after staying up all night before it is due only to turn it in the next day and find out “oh, thanks so much! Just keep it for now.” Uh, ouch…on top of the fact you already did your own data analysis for your classes. Double ouch.
I’m sure there may be a meme about that somewhere, but just know it is important to understand that memes should be appropriate. In recent months, I have seen a number of teacher memes with heavy expletives and to be honest, inappropriate, mean jokes about kids. That’s too much. I don’t know about you, but I came into this profession to help kids. I don’t want students scrolling through Instagram seeing multiple teacher memes mocking and cussing about students. Don’t let one bad week or teaching experience make you create or get in agreement with such a joke. That just doesn’t sit right with me…at all. For many kids, we are the closest thing to a stable parent they have. Remember that.
It can really affect the professional stature and view of our profession over time.
We work too hard now, and we worked to hard to earn our degrees and certifications to let memes start to joke about what we do. Every is meme is not bad, I’m not saying that. What I am saying is we work in one of the most honored and respected professions in the world (that sentiment is not always returned here in the U.S., but that is another post for another day.)
People who are not supportive of education whether it be towards teachers or students (If you don’t care about teachers then you really don’t care about students. Period.), falsely use it as ammunition for their own agendas. “See, these teachers are liking and commenting on this post with the f-word all throughout it. Then tomorrow they’ll be protesting all day.”
Yes, teachers have every right to protest unfair treatment and I stand with them, but though valid, it’s harder to prove a point when you have joked hatefully about the very community or people you serve online. Parents and students see these memes too.
I get it. I’ve lived it. Teachers are overwhelmed, but keep it in good taste. Our profession is too awesome to bow down like that. Triple ouch.
Teachers can and must vent.
What we do daily is almost not humanly possible…but we do it. Teachers.need.to.vent. Here’s how you vent–to a trusted colleague, after school within an adult conversation. If it is too bad and a HORRIBLE day, lunch or briefly during your planning quietly away from students is okay.
Many times, a trusted teacher friend, and a good venting session (possibly with chocolate) is just what you need to set things right.
There are some awesome teacher memes, videos, and even comedians out there who joke about the teacher experience…and it is hilarious. Only someone who has taught could understand how we feel. I have screamed and laughed in solidarity with their jokes, posts, and more. Sometimes, it is just what I need to get through a day.
Laughter truly is medicine. Just make sure it doesn’t have a “bitter” taste going down–especially with memes.
Teach in the Light,
What do you do as a teacher to keep yourself sane during the school year? Share below in the comments!