I was teaching an introduction to poetry unit today in a freshman English class, and, for no apparent reason, a student suddenly asked a question about Green Lantern's Oath--was it poetry or not?
So, to make sure everyone was on the same page, I started to recite the oath.
And, once I started, something miraculous happened. I noticed a couple of students mouthing the first line with me. Then, on the second line, a student joined in aloud. By the third line, four students were reciting the oath in unison.
More than any other moment in my 17-year teaching career, this has given me the strongest sense of hope for the future.
The class has 11 students total, so that means about 36% of them knew the Green Lantern Oath. I wonder how this statistic holds up elsewhere.
It's not just the number that surprises me. I haven't talked about comics at all in the class, though I do make frequent pop culture references, so there was no real context in which to just start talking about Green Lantern. Yet, they assumed the reference was well-known enough.
Of course, one might also ask, "What the hell are you teaching these kids?"