Albums To Be Ashamed Of

I’d been compiling a post over the course of this school year entitled “Albums I’ve Played For My Classes (And Not Pissed Them Off)” which would cover ground you can probably predict. But then my first semester surveys came back and, like, five kids, responding to the question, “What about this class would you change for next semester?” wrote:

Don’t play lame music.

And I scrapped the post.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Ha! I don’t reveal what I listen to until the very last days so I have nothing to worry about. If they only knew I was listening to exactly what they listen to ::shakes head::

  2. I started my Am Lit II class this year with “Respiration” by Black Star. It kind of freaked them out.

    I do, though, like to have music playing when the kids enter the room. Usually it’s something that has to do with what we’re reading (late-40s jazz and pop for Death of a Salesman, the Dead for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). It’s nice to set a little vibe while taking attendance, checking homework, etc.

  3. I make my Shakespeare students listen to “It’s Tricky” by Run-DMC to get a sense of rhythm, meter, and stressed vs. unstressed syllables.

    When my sophomores read “The Catcher in the Rye”, right when Phoebe corrects Holden about the song lyrics, we listen to clips from Purple Haze and Paranoid and debate what was really sung – “Scuse me while I kiss the sky/this guy” and “I tell you to enjoy/end your life”. We talk about perceptual set and how our experiences/desires impact our perceptions.

    It actually comes off a lot cooler than it sounds written here. Really.

  4. We promissed, my class and I,
    not to complain about the music played during art lessons.
    I try to listen openminded to theirs
    and they don’t whine when they hear mine.
    We agreed that it’s interesting for everyone
    to hear something different.
    Even when it’s their Tokio Hotel,
    or my Sahara Lounge.