A few years ago, our administration got all exercised over the yoga pants epidemic. Perhaps because I’m a dude and I don’t care much about dress code, it was tough for me to get excited about the Banning Yoga Pants Crusade. I watched the battle unfold instead of participating in the combat. It was fascinating. The conservative forces of the status quo lost big-time! They got buried under an avalanche of spandex. I knew the war was lost when I went to a basketball game and saw a lot 30 and 40 something moms sporting yoga pants. I recently commented to my students about this struggle, “Girls…when it came to yoga pants, you just wore everyone down.” A proud young female nodded and said, “We sure did.”
If you listen to this episode and think, Well, if we put those kids in uniforms that problem will be solved…you’re missing the larger point. Whether or not girls wear yoga pants to school is merely a manifestation of a larger phenomenon:
When teachers battle against powerful social trends, they risk becoming irrelevant
To demonstrate the timeless nature of such struggles, I decided to commission a student voice. Lynne Sturtevant graduated from high school…45 YEARS AGO! Her story about the generational struggle at her school should reassure you. There’s truly nothing new in the world! Lynne will give you great advice on how to be calm and allow your students to express themselves generationally!
Lynne authored 2 books about the history of Marietta, Ohio:
You risk alienating students by battling powerful social trends.
Evaluate the relevance of your classroom policies.
What You Can Do Tomorrow?
- Create a SurveyMonkey about school and classroom policies.
- Play devil’s advocate in the ensuing class discussion.
- Challenge students to embark on a nostalgia hunt.
- Encourage kids to contact a decision maker advocating for the retention or elimination of a policy.
- In the privacy and safety of your empty classroom, evaluate your classroom policies.
Teachers undermine student engagement when they cling stubbornly to out-of-date policies. Let them help you out of the abyss.