Usually when you hear about social media at school, it’s because kids are getting in trouble for using it during class. But at one school, a teacher has flipped the script, and her students are totally here for it.
Often, teachers from an older generation not only don’t understand the kids they’re charged with educating. The generation gap can cause serious conflict and create real obstacles to the efficacy of their teaching. But one savvy teacher figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and as a result of leaning into the stuff her students enjoy, she’s seeing big results.
Ainee Fatima, 27, teaches English and Media studies to high schoolers in Franklin Park, Illinois, and she’s adopted a surprising, and fun, new method of grading that has really resonated with her students. She’s using memes.
“I needed a way to express my emotions to my students while grading,” Fatima told the Daily Dot. “I think memes and GIFs are so a part of texting culture now that we have a reaction and meme to everything. I thought why not use it for grading?”
So she started created some stickers of popular memes and started pasting them next to answers on students’ assignments.
I love grading with my new stickers! pic.twitter.com/4K66qQblSJ
— ainee f. (@axfxq) October 17, 2018
The method has since gone viral, with her tweet showing the application of one such meme garnering over 25,000 likes on Twitter.
Not only do her students love the practice – she says some have even asked to do assignments over to try to get a better meme. And the typically judgmental social media sphere approves too.
“We need more teachers like you who make education fun for kids,” one tweeter commented. “Create a classroom culture that resonates with students and excellence shows itself,” wrote another.
Other teachers posted their similar ideas, and some people even suggested other possible memes to use:
I bet this one would find it’s way into someone’s paper. pic.twitter.com/4h3nqUVO29
— adnan(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ (@werzadnan) October 19, 2018
Me voy a comprar este pic.twitter.com/m8gTVd7iHa
— Pau (@paulidipi) October 20, 2018
Aware of potential controversy, Fatima subsequently shared more details, specifying for who and why she uses the meme grading method.
Update: these were really well received by my kids. Students who normally wouldn’t care actually asked if they could correct their tests for a better grade & had a good laugh esp bc they always show me memes.
— ainee f. (@axfxq) October 18, 2018
“It’s sometimes important for teachers to meet their students at their level,” the now-viral teacher said. “Including pop-culture and media in their curriculum will get your content and instruction across way farther than sticking to age-old content. It might seem silly but just having those few kids try a little harder made my day! I have striven to be the teacher I needed when I was in school.”
That’s totally lit, fam.