The media influence on education – matters. It matters to teachers, and it should matter to society too.
I didn’t know it in high school, but the lyrics
when I think back on all the crap I learned back in high school…
are sung by Paul Simon.
I remember this song because teenagers are strange people. I felt it related to me for lame reasons:
One, I was in high school. Two, I could say “crap” and not get in trouble with my parents. Three, I was learning crap in high school.
Except that I wasn’t. I was learning lots. Most of it was social, but that wasn’t from a lack of effort on my teachers’ part.
Sure many extenuating events and beliefs fed into why I blew off lots of high school book learning.
To be honest, a huge portion was because high school students want to fit in and do not know how to fit in – and I wanted to belong.
To accomplish this goal, teenagers latch onto role models, often famous people. They look around for examples of how to behave, what to believe. The media influence? Yeah, it matters.
So when Paul Simon sings about learning crap in high school, someone is believing it.
The image of teachers and administrators in young adult/ tween programming is pathetic:
Consider the easily-duped Mr. Belding, the ultra-boring teacher from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and the repetitive Mr. Garrison – and those are old examples!
Turn on any tween show, and an authority figure will be taught a lesson by a twelve-year-old or tricked by a fun-loving prankster.
TV shows need viewers, and they cater to their audience. Kids want to be in charge, they want to think that authority figures are wrong about life. Poking fun at public educators gets laughs and kids relate to those story lines as they search for their niche in society.
They are cheap laughs though, and the expense of those who already do so much and do not reap the benefits of their students’ attitudes.
For teachers, media representation matters. It should matter to society, too.