Much of the pop culture world is all a-twitter about Adam Lambert’s sexually charged performance at last night’s American Music Awards. Every morning radio show seemed to be covering it during my commute, every blog seems to have a post on it, and “Adam Lambert” is a top trending topic on Twitter.
And among the teens at my high school… not a peep.
Looking back at Sarah Ludwig’s post from last year (Why Knowing What “Speidi” Means Makes You a Better Teen Librarian), I’ve been thinking a lot about teens and culture, pop and otherwise. My teens are by no means immune to the Twilight bug (half my freshman advisory went to a midnight show last week) and they have very particular tastes in music, but beyond that their conversations (at least in the library) have little to do with pop culture.
Instead, they talk a lot about Age of Empires (discovered on one of the shared drives on the school computers, and now played religiously by a good number of boys, particularly–ahem–during study hall), school events like the recent powderpuff football game, whose biology test was hardest, and who failed their driving test.
I do still think it’s important to keep up with pop culture. I tend to stick with what already interests me, though–I’ve shared several gamers’ frustration with the lack of a release date for Diablo III, and one of the English teachers and I have swapped music and share a love for 30 Rock.
But as much as I love hating on Edward’s hair or talking about Lady Gaga’s video for “Bad Romance,” it’s much more important to me to keep up with the culture of the school. Do I know what students need for filling out a winter athletics form? Is the community service club meeting here? When’s the pep rally?
These are all questions that could be answered by other people in the building, but when I know the answers–and when I can even chat about that next level, like what our chances look like against Westwood or which teacher is going to end up in the panther costume–I’m showing my students that I’m a part of their school and their lives, not just the person who checks out books.
Are your teens immersed in pop culture, or are their conversations more about their schools and communities? And what do you do to make sure you’re a part of those conversations?