With the advent of the digital age, you could argue that the generation gap is as wide as it has ever been. Nowhere is this more evident than in schools, where middle-aged teachers meet tech-savvy kids who have never known a world without Facebook, instant messaging and the ultimate modern form of communication – memes.
David Red, Professor at St. John’s River State College in Florida, is woke. He knows that if he’s going to relate to his students, to be able to truly get through to them, he needs to be on their level.
“Students generally seem to really like the memes or really anything I do that makes it feel to them like I’m actually trying to talk to them and not just reading from a script or text,” David told On SAJA. “For example, in one of my classes this year I wore pink every Wednesday and the first test was entirely themed on Mean Girls. Some of them started wearing pink on Wednesdays too and they really enjoyed it. It became almost like a “team color”.”
“The IT meme that you may have seen was actually right before a final exam and the final was then themed around the movie, using the same characters and “props”. Anything that makes the students feel like I put my real-self into the class helps, whether it’s memes or one of these other gimmicks. If my real-self is in the room, then their real-self shows up too. And when they’re fully present like that, they learn.”
Despite the popularity he has quite accidentally found online, David loves teaching his physics courses and has no plans to take it any further. He says his memes are a fun way to communicate not only with his students, but for fellow teachers too. “I love the students generally and most of them are fantastic people that are really trying,” he told us. “But like all teachers that deal with thousands of students, there are the occasional few that drive you crazy. And there are tedious elements of all teaching jobs (like most all jobs) that wear down teachers. That’s what the memes are mostly about – the elements of teaching that are frustrating to all teachers.”
But how did it all come about? “The first meme happened with me sitting at my desk staring at a pile of tests and labs to grade,” David told On SAJA. “Instead of tackling it head-on, I procrastinated and saw a meme on my Facebook feed that I immediately connected to my own frustration. It was Golum looking happy captioned with “We must wash the dishes” followed by a picture of Golum angrily saying “But we hates it!” I made that one there with me talking about grading and it went from there.”
“My fiance and I would work on a costume and figure out how best to do it – she is the creative genius behind costumes, wigs and any makeup used. I know this would be a good time to start an Instagram account or try to capitalize somehow but I get married in three days and then go on a honeymoon. By then the buzz will be gone so probably I’ll just keep doing things as I was before – for fun, whenever I have an idea I like.”
Do you recognize all of David’s memes? Scroll down to check out his hilarious creations for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments!