Why Meghan Trainor Saying “F*** Teachers!” Does Matter
A 21-second clip dropped from Meghan and Ryan Trainor’s podcast, Working on It, where she badmouthed teachers. This was just a snippet from the 1:30:57 episode and, yes, I listened to the whole thing. I’m a teacher, I did my homework.
Most people wouldn’t think twice about anyone saying the comments Meghan Trainor, and by response, the guest Trisha Paytas, said. As a public school teacher, I’m certain hundreds of kids a day say the same thing about their least-favorite teacher or administrator. But they’re the ones on the campus, with their own reasons. When a student comes into my classroom badmouthing another adult, the first question I ask is, “Why do you think that about them?” I seek to understand their point-of-view rather than convince them they’re just wrong. It gives them the chance to talk it out. I require my students to back up what they’re saying, or find a way to adjust their thinking and approach the person a different way. So, Meghan, I have a homework assignment for you. Let me provide the context first.
I can’t simply shake off what Meghan Trainor said, whether it be the 21-second clip, the few minutes on her podcast surrounding the now-deleted audio, or the 1-minute-and-15-second “apology” Meghan posted later. The following is a transcription of the evidence I have for my assignment, with commentary in parentheses.
The Existing Audio Still on the Episode
Meghan: “We’re homeschooling our kids. So far it’s fan-f***ing-tastic.” (Sweet! Super happy for you. Every parent should make the best informed choice for their student’s education.)
Meghan: “There’s so many teachers out here that are nice and kind.” (Okay, sounds good. Thanks, Meghan!)
Meghan: “And that will come to your house and, like, do a whole thing.” (I remember being in credential school being trained to, like, do a whole thing, too. We call it lesson plans, which are based on content standards. I’m sure you knew that.)
Meghan: “Our teacher that we have, like, takes pictures all damn day and we have, like, a shared album.”
Trisha, in response: “Yeah, that’s the best!” (If all I did was take pictures all day I’d be fired by third period.)
Meghan: “Like if I have to work and they have, like, three hours of school and then he sends me pictures.”
Trisha, in response: “I love that! And that’s, like, all they need but school they really drag out, right? With like recess and like free time and study time I’m like okay.” (I, on an easy day, teach 5 hours; this doesn’t take into account meetings, copy-making, lesson prep, rehearsal, supervision for events, etc. And also, “drag it out”? Because teachers don’t need breaks? Because kids don’t need breaks? We call them brain breaks. But no, I’m sure your children are fully willing to sit still and work for an hour or more straight thru.)
Meghan: “Yeah, even like when you’re in high school and you’re homeschooled, I see all these kids and they’re like I did two hours of work and then I went and did like yard work and like learned real-life things.” (Yard work is a “real-life thing”? My students going through 6 periods of school a day on top of homework, studying, sports/activities/arts, babysitting, working, socializing aren’t “real-life things”? Gotcha.)
The three hosts then overlap with several “Yeah, no, yeah like it’s so much better. So much better.” Followed by Meghan saying, “let’s save our kids.” (Save your kids? From what??)
The Viral Clip
Meghan: “We’re homeschooling our kids.”
Trisha: “Same. I think everyone shoul-“
Meghan: “F*** that! We all ar—like everyone on TikTok is.” (TikTok. TIKTOK! I get finding a cute tankini or a new use for how to garnish a salad with dried mango shavings on TikTok, but to justify your ENTIRE educational path for your child! Gotcha.)
Meghan: “They’re like, ‘this is what it is to have a kid in school in America. I have a bulletproof backpack. I was like, ‘f*** all that.’
Trisha: “Yeah, but like kids can be mean. Teachers of—I--that was my trauma—“ (I’d like anyone who has ever gone through a school system to raise their hand if they liked every single one of their teachers every day of every period. I’ll wait…) (That said, Meghan did bring up an example of how her husband was embarrassed by an administrator on the loudspeaker, and that is absolutely a type of bad educator that I stand with Meghan on, and that is very unfortunate that Meghan’s husband had to deal with that as a kid.)
Meghan: “Teachers! F*** teachers, dude.” (Woohoo! So glad my profession is valued. Super happy we good teachers get lumped in with a few bad apples.)
Trisha: “You know, but then also you have the violence. I mean I think it’s just that thing. It’s not even private schools, it’s just like having them homeschooled.”
Meghan: “Girl, yeah.”
The Most Infuriating Quote from Meghan’s “Apology”
“I love teachers. I fight for teachers. I think they have the hardest job and they are the most underpaid. They’re the most underappreciated when they raise all of us.”
Thank you, Meghan, for apologizing. Whether it was strategic, genuine, or a combination of both, you said all the “right things” we teachers have been hearing since three months after Covid-19 shut down our schools. You love teachers? So you flippantly saying F*** Teachers in the comfort of you cushioned chair in your air-conditioned studio with your TikTok bestie and brother shows us love? Granted, with the way Meghan, Ryan, and Trisha talk on the podcast, they use the F-word like the rest of us use oxygen to breathe. You FIGHT for teachers? Are you a substitute teacher, so you can support the good teachers who are burnt out or just need a day off? Do you volunteer or donate to a local school group or charity who supports school safety, school meals, new uniforms? Do you use your platform and influence to promote teachers and to keep us safe?
Since you were discussing teachers who bullied Trisha, your husband, and you, I want to say I am sorry to hear that the three of you experienced bullying from a teacher, because that’s an example of an adult who took their position of power to excess and abused it; but now you’re a podcaster and music artist who has taken your position of power to excess and abused it. Those words do damage, Meghan.
We teachers do not “raise” anyone. We educate, we challenge, and we help grow. My work as a teacher is to ensure that when I mess up, I don’t abuse my power but rather seek to understand my students, why they do the things they do, and ensure that my classroom is a safe place where they can learn, express themselves, and grow as young adults. We teachers do this knowing that sometimes the safest place for a child is the classroom. We know that some kids will only eat that day because our campus provides meals. We know that sometimes our students will make a 100% effort to get out of bed, put clothes on, and just make it in the classroom door. Then we take over.
You and Trisha were also discussing the shootings and violence in schools. It’s horrifying, isn’t it? It doesn’t ever leave my mind that all of the above job duties are in addition to the reality that I, or anyone on my campus, may be shot at by someone with a gun and no empathy for our kids. You fight for teachers? How are you using your platform to encourage the writing and passing of legislation to protect our schools? A 1-minute-and- 15-second apology will do NOTHING to protect us. So why don’t you leave the commentary on the safety and quality of schools to those of us who are on the campuses and in the classroom every day risking our lives for the students we have gotten to know and love.
Why do these comments matter? Because when someone who, at the time of publishing, has 17.2 million Instagram followers and 17.7 million TikTok followers, says these words, they may be repeated and repeated and believed deeply by any number of adults and students who will then adopt the same mentality and say the same thing as their Influencer. It makes me wary of who might say f*** teachers next. We educators have enough competition for attention and respect, and we work tirelessly to obtain and earn those on a daily basis and maintain them all year long. But at the end of the day, I guess when someone has made their money on singing lyrics living:
I'll make you double take soon as I walk away Call up your chiropractor just in case your neck break Ooh, tell me what you, what you, what you gon' do, ooh 'Cause I'm 'bout to make a scene, double up that sunscreen
there’s only so much I should expect when someone in your lane of success attempts to merge over to a lane you have no business commuting in. So, here’s my assignment for you, Meghan:
Seek to understand us. You have a podcast, you have the socials, you have the voice (I’m going to full-on admit: “Credit” is an absolute bop and will always be on my workout playlist), so perhaps dig beyond the TikTok hole and truly investigate what teachers do to ensure the safety and well-being of their students and campus. Last I checked, we’re not the ones shooting up our campuses; we’re the ones who now have to put our lives on the line when all we want is to make a connection and teach our content.
Dear Future Meghan, please use your influence to actually fight for us. I hope you truly take the time and make the effort. You’ve been given your homework, will you choose to complete it?