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Teacher suspended for playing The Lonely Island during lesson on satire

on July 20, 2016, 10:20pm

The best teachers are the ones who find ways to relate lesson materials to their students’ actual lives, right? Not so fast, says the B.C. Teacher Regulation Board, which suspended a substitute teacher in Vancouver for using satirical music videos to teach satire to his high school English students.

The teacher in question, Cory Ray Steeves, apparently used music clips by comedy rap group The Lonely Island and American-Canadian DJ duo Duck Sauce to demonstrate how satire works in action.

According to a report by CBC News, Steeves initially warned the class of Grade 10 students that the videos featured explicit material and gave them the chance to leave the class to protect their delicate sensibilities. That didn’t stop one or several students from snitching on Steeves and making him wish that he was in fact on a boat, somewhere far away from the Teacher Regulation Board.

It seems a bit crazy that a high schooler in 2016 would find the lyrics to “I’m on a Boat” offensive. Still, the CBC obtained a disciplinary consent resolution that claims, “‘I’m on a Boat’ consists primarily of profanity” and is thus unsuitable for young ears. More understandable is the outcry against the video for Duck Sauce’s “Big Bad Wolf”, which Steeves also showed his students. The video depicts several men and women with heads in place of genitalia, and it would probably be a bit uncomfortable to watch in a class setting.

“I’m on a Boat”, though? Please. Kids hear worse language than that on their way to class every day.

In any case, Steeves will have five days of unpaid suspension to contemplate his decision, during which time he’ll also have to complete a course called “Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries.” This is why Canada can’t have nice things.

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