Tragically Unhip

BorlaugI am continually amazed by the variety of people who choose to spend their every waking moment attempting to pass on our societies collective wisdom on to the next generation (which basically amounts to “Cover Your Ass,” as near as I can tell). Truly we educators are a diverse lot. Some of us can’t read and some of us live for books; some are gifted athletes and others are likely to stab themselves stirring their morning coffee; some of us relish building relationships with young people and some of us can think of nothing so painful as listening to another “one time” story. Truly it takes all types of people to educate our youth.

Even if we accept this as an unshakable truth, however, you have to admit that there are some things which all teachers should have in common. For example, we should all have at least a passing familiarity with child development and psychology and perhaps we should be moderately well educated on our subjects. I could continue in this vein for quite a while, but I’ll just skip to the interesting part.

One of the things that all teachers should be aware of is what passes for “cool” or “hip” among today’s youth. I am definitely NOT saying that we should embrace or approve of what they find cool, just that we are more effective when we are aware of it in order to more effectively do our jobs. Imagine my surprise then, when after talking to a group of teachers I discovered that they had never heard the word “snarky” and hadn’t the faintest idea what it could mean.

Really?! Now I can understand that they’ve never used the word themselves (given that it is slang), but to be totally unaware of the existence of the most descriptive word (to date) of every rebellious child’s favorite form of self expression (some of them never outgrow it…) is simply beyond the pale. Are Occupational Therapists unaware of the signs of head trauma to the head? Do counselors not know that Kleenex now makes tissues with lotion? I don’t think so!

People will think I’m overstating this, but an understanding of (if not the actual use of) snark is integral to your success as an educator. Failing to grasp this concept will forever cripple your ability to successfully communicate with students (and let’s be honest, at least half of your coworkers) and so make your task of teaching infinitely more difficult.

I propose that those teachers which are this tragically unhip be required to buff up on their modern slang immediately. Preferably by dropping them off in the middle of an American Outfitters and not permitting them to leave until they successfully purchase something. This may well take weeks because most of us already know that the salespeople will steadfastly ignore you until you are cool enough for them to be seen talking to you.

If you still have no idea what “snarky” means, then I have two questions for you. The first is, “How on earth did you find this website?” and the second one is, “Why haven’t you yet learned to follow a hyperlink?” Come on, people! Let’s get with it!

Snarkily Yours,



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