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Usually, when memes go viral, it’s because they speak to something that many people can relate to. They’re something to unite us all, in their brutal honesty and often in their complete absurdity.
“I give students the option to submit memes about the school year or our class and we look at them on the last day of class,” she explained in a tweet on May 31. “They usually take this opportunity to roast me, which I don’t mind. They really outdid themselves this year so here’s a thread of our memes!”
She went on to share a bunch of memes edited by her class to be, again, highly, highly specific to their personal experiences at school, and they quickly and inexplicably went viral—with the first tweet alone receiving over 35,000 retweets and almost 173,000 likes as of this post.
Context for one of these: I can only see out of one eye and students love roasting me for it 😂 pic.twitter.com/kFiifwLwiF— Angelina Murphy (@magicalmsmurphy) May 31, 2019
The reimagined memes reference everything from classic memes like blank-faced Steve Carell from The Office to some new hits from this year, such as the “and I oop” meme. There are even some complete originals in the bunch, proving this English teacher’s students have learned the literary merits of both homage and creativity.
Just kidding, I couldn’t resist. Here are more 😂 and shout out to everyone who got me something off my Amazon Wishlist! 😜😂 (the 1 eye roast on this one killed me lolll) pic.twitter.com/uY0wrEbbQw— Angelina Murphy (@magicalmsmurphy) May 31, 2019
Okay this really is the last one! pic.twitter.com/AeDttlnjhD— Angelina Murphy (@magicalmsmurphy) May 31, 2019
(Spoiler alert: It wasn’t the last one.)
The compliments for Murphy’s unique approach to an end-of-the-year roundup with her students rolled in.
I love so much that you teach HS and I can tell by their memes that they still embrace “kid” things like popsicle sticks, morning greetings, & silly names teachers make up like “do-nows”. 💞— Hilary Black (@msblackteach) June 1, 2019
My daughter said she needs a Ms Murphy. This was cute https://t.co/f0MXhpNaBh— Natalie Teixeira (@kriola_fofa617) June 1, 2019
Great thread and FUNNY! @magicalmsmurphy has captured hearts and built rapport with her students...they respectfully “served” her but you can tell they’ll always remember their time with her! LOVE it!! https://t.co/fyqU7c3vMs— Cherie Boyd (@CLB_Dr) June 1, 2019
And some teachers even found inspiration from Murphy’s idea and brought it to their own classroom.
And like any good teacher, Ms. Murphy also took the time to explain the origins of some of the memes, considering the vast majority of people on the internet definitely don’t have any inside knowledge of how her classroom operates.
Hi everyone! I’m still a little confused about all the attention the memes got lol, and because there are many notifications, it’s difficult for me to go through all of them, so I am going to go through some of the common questions I’ve been getting here!— Angelina Murphy (@magicalmsmurphy) June 2, 2019
And she had a helpful suggestion for any educators sharing this exercise with their own students…
Also, please read this article and consider sharing/discussing with students before this activity (or just in general!) https://t.co/hnsvdQP0rT— Angelina Murphy (@magicalmsmurphy) June 1, 2019
While it’s unlikely Murphy’s tweets went viral for the relatability of the memes, they do give an impressive insight as to how teachers can go about making class fun and engaging for the newest online generation. And there’s one thing we can pretty much all agree on: we wish we had a teacher like Murphy when we were in high school.
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Rachel Kiley is a writer who sometimes writes things and sometimes is based in L.A., but is definitely always on Twitter @rachelkiley.