From the start of my class I told my students that the most important thing in their life is what they think. I tell them this so that they start to think about why they think the way they do so that they start to find out more about themselves and how they view their own place in this world. There have been many discussions in my classroom about individuality and my students all say that they do things that they want to do and they are not doing things because its cool or because a cool or famous person does something. I always challenge this notion by pointing out that none of my students choose to wear the clothes or shoes of homeless people. All my students agree that they don’t choose to wear the clothing of homeless people then they proceed to tell me that just because they don’t wear the clothing of homeless people does not mean that the clothes they do choose to wear is because famous or cool people are wearing them. If this is true and all the kids are making individualistic decisions for themselves why do so many students participate in the same trends. Most students love name brand clothing and shoes, most female students wear their hair the same, most male students wear their hair the same, most students wear earphones throughout the whole day. I am sure there are other things that I missed but for the most part the things students do, say, and the way they dress is the same so I have a hard time believing that the students are not doing things because other people are doing them.
Now there are a few new trends in the school and many of the kids are saying the word, “clown” to other people as a derogatory term, people flip dollar bills as a form of gambling and they are wearing these nose rings that hang from the bottom of their noses like a bull. I am not writing about these trends to talk negatively about my students but to bring awareness to behaviors that most humans engage so they can be aware of the power groups have on people.
What I have also been trying to get my students to see is that if they don’t recognize that many trends are not created by those who participate in the trend and that many of the people who do participate in the trend don’t profit from these trends. I have been trying to show students that the media is powerful, peer pressure is powerful, the feeling of wanting to be accepted by others is powerful and the feeling of wanting to be apart of a group is powerful, thus people will do things they normally would not do if they did not feel these pressures. I do recognize that this is no different from my era when my peers started eating fast food for almost every meal, sagging their pants, skipping class, wearing Cross Colors clothing, wearing Karl Kani clothing, Starter Jackets, Nike shoes, Jordan shoes, Corn rolls, two ear piercings, and tattoos. But now I see that I don’t have to do things things to look cool or to be in the “IN-Crowd” I can just be me and do things that benefit me. I want my students to be able to do the same so that they don’ t get in a habit of following others because of some type of social pressure.