We all remember what it was like to get a paper back in school with our grade marked in big red lettering — especially if that grade wasn’t what we hoped for.
High school teacher Ainee Fatima tells Babble that she was once a student who was “a victim [of] the ‘red marker’-grading” which gave her “immense anxiety,” so she decided to come up with a different method for grading her Media Studies class.
Her solution? Meme stickers. The results were not only hilarious, but also ended up being the perfect way for her to connect with her students.
Fatima recently took to Twitter to share a short video of herself grading the papers with her new stickers, and it quickly went viral with over 455K likes and 114K retweets!
To create the meme stickers, Fatima says she just created them on her computer and then printed them onto sticker sheets. One meme sticker featured a confused-looking Nick Young, with added question marks for emphasis. Another showed a pleased Gordon Ramsay with the message, “Good job. You get a gold star for today.”
“I think the memes offer a light-hearted look at getting a bad grade,” Fatima explains. “It actually pushed students to look at what they got wrong and offer to correct it for a better grade, instead of shoving the exam in their bag from embarrassment — which is something I used to do because I didn’t want anyone to see the red marks I got.”
The memes were not only humorous and relatable, but they also provided a learning opportunity for the media studies students, who are learning how to study and analyze social media, trends, news, and politics.
“Memes and gifs are so a part of texting culture now that we have a reaction and meme to everything, so why not use it for grading?” offers Fatima.
The students’ response to the stickers was everything that Fatima had hoped for, and they were especially proud of their teacher’s tweet.
“They clapped for me today when I walked into class,” Fatima says. “It made for a really great teaching moment for my students about how things go viral.”
She adds that her class has already made bets on how long this will last, and how far it will go.
It’s that kind of enthusiasm that Fatima says makes her love being a teacher.
“I love seeing the kids understand something they’ve never understood before,” she says. “I love connecting with them and listening to their ideas; I just want to see them all succeed.”
No doubt, her caring and innovative approach is already having an impact!