Yes, I must admit it, I am a high school math teacher. Not a great one. Not a cool one. Just your average, everyday algebra facilitator. Mostly, I teach freshmen, and they all tell tales of amazing eighth grade math teachers who basically sound like the educational equivalent of GTA4. In other words, amazing, if not slightly overrated. Don’t get me wrong; I try to be great. I write songs about math and rock out on my guitar while singing to my classes. I put in extra hours to make math-related games so my students can play while practicing, as opposed to doing worksheets. I suppose, in the end, it’s personality I lack, which is why I often find myself turning to my last resort…outing myself as a gamer.
It’s hard to walk past the conversations in the classroom. Whether it’s talk of “pwning noobs” in Halo or boasting over beating a particular Guitar Hero song on expert, I always get the urge to toss in my two cents. It’s not like I’m a videogames expert. On a scale of 1 to 5, my general knowledge is probably somewhere around a 1.141592653589…okay, that’s enough of that. The point is, I’m no expert, but I know more than most of the 15-year-olds I teach and at least enough to converse with them on the topic of “gaming.”
Then the questions begin. What systems do I have? Do I have a Live account? What do I play? What’s my gamertag? When will I be on? I answer all the questions. I even give out my gamertag. I’ve played Halo with my freshmen. Oh, what an experience. You know all those annoying 10-year-olds that yell and sing into the microphone over XBox Live? The ones with gamertags like "nooobXxX4xXxliiifeXX." Yeah, they’re not 10. They’re 15 and they were all in my 4th period this year. Seriously. All. Of. Them.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m going to end up like one of those teachers on CNN. Don’t make me get explicit. You know what I’m talking about. But I want you to again imagine those annoying kids on Xbox Live screaming into your ear. Now, imagine wanting to do anything with them besides kicking them in the face. You can’t right? Yeah, me either.
I must admit, though, it does make for positive classroom interactions. I know I can count on my gamerkids to have my back. Those are the kids that always say hey to me in the hall or come to class with their homework done. So, despite the part of my brain that tells me I should probably leave the gamer out of the classroom, I just don’t think I can.
But, what do you think? Is it inappropriate
to accept friend requests from students in my algebra class? Or, should I start listing my gamertag on my syllabus?