Steven Van Zandt plays teacher at New Jersey middle school

E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt stopped by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on Tuesday, where he played teacher using his TeachRock learning curriculum, which uses music history to teach students important lessons.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Van Zandt sat in on teacher Allison Hoffman’s class, where she taught her students about segregation using The Beatles’ refusal to play to the segregated South in the 1960s as an example.

Students were also taught about Van Zandt’s 1985 protest song “Sun City,” which featured such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne and Bob Dylan, and helped draw attention to apartheid in South Africa.

“It’s a lazy way to have your identity to be based on hatred or hate, you know?” the rocker told the class. “It’s a lazy way of going through life and we have a lot of examples of that going on right now.”

As for the students, Van Zandt told the paper, “They’re just smarter than us and faster than us. … It just confirmed for us the reason we started this curriculum was because we need to create a new methodology of teaching for this generation. We got to do it. The old methods are not going to work for these kids.” 

Van Zandt will soon be a little too busy to play teacher, as he and the E Street Band are due to join Springsteen on the latest leg of his tour, which kicks off March 19 in Phoenix, Arizona. A complete list of dates can be found at brucespringsteen.net.

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