Since VH1 never produced this important countdown (surprising I know), I am stepping up to the plate. For some reason, teachers and schools are often overlooked in rock music. I guess there was Hot for Teacher and Smokin’ in the Boys Room. But that’s not exactly what I had in mind. I’m looking for songs that actually have some educational/inspirational value related to learning. And for this list, they have to be from the 80’s.
I’ll share my list and you can leave a comment to let me know what you would add. Enjoy!
10. Rock Me Amadeus by Falco (1985)
The movie Amadeus was a huge hit that sparked an interest in classical music and the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It’s always great when pop culture leads to learning, even if the song is really weird. The Broadway show Hamilton is having a similar impact today.
9. One Moment in Time by Whitney Houston (1988)
This Emmy Award winning song was the anthem of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. It’s a song about reaching higher and striving to be the best you can be. It’s really connected to the mission of educators, to help students see their potential and dream big dreams.
8. Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFarren
If everyone in your school came to school every day with this attitude, what kind of place would it be? We need classrooms and schools filled with positive and supportive people.
7. Chariots of Fire by Vangelis (1981)
This instrumental theme from the movie by the same name was included on my list for a couple of reasons. It’s an inspirational piece of music for sure, but it’s also from a film that I find very compelling. It’s a fact-based story of Olympians who find great meaning and purpose in their running. Educators should also run their race with this type of commitment and purpose.
6. We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel (1989)
This song has been used in history classes over and again. In fact, there is a webpage that details the historical events listed in the song.
5. Highway to the Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins (1986)
You probably recognize this song from the hit movie Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise. For teachers, the danger zone might be the day after Halloween in an elementary school or after school parking lot duty in a high school. There are plenty of “dangerous” parts of the job.
4. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2 (1987)
This is one of my favorite songs. As an educator, you want to have success with every student and every lesson. But this is tough work and failure is inevitable. And there is always work to do. Until school works for every kid, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
3. Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson (1987)
The lyrics of this song are powerful. Great educators must concern themselves with social good. Be the change.
2. Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds (1985)
The Breakfast Club is one of the most iconic movies of the 80’s. The themes are really important ones for educators to understand. The need to be understood, to feel a sense of belonging, etc. No one wants to be forgotten.
1. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey (1981)
Not a song about school. But it is a song about taking a chance, going places, and reaching for dreams. The best educators are dream builders and give hope to their students. Don’t stop believin’!!!
Question: What 80’s tunes would you add to my list? How do they inspire you as an educator? Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook.
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