I regularly drive kids home from tutoring after school and they’re usually surprised to hear my radio tuned to a pop or hip hop station. Two years ago, I couldn’t have named a single song by Jay Z, Rihanna, or TI. Now, I can spit some lyrics* to “Empire State of Mind”, “Rude Boy”, and “Dead and Gone”. Music is probably my favorite way to connect with my ninth graders. (Recite the hook to a current hit and the kids will be eating out of your hand the rest of the lesson — I dare you to try it.)
Intentionally connecting with my kids seems like an obvious thing to do. I was surprised recently to hear from a group of teachers who “never thought of that”. I’m going to introduce them to the idea through some music they only think they know. Take a listen to these seemingly-familiar songs (close your eyes as you click so you don’t ruin the surprise by seeing the answer right away):
Lyric #1: “it’s a hard knock life for me”
Lyric #2: “I’ve had the time of my life”
Lyric #3: “what is love?”
My way is music. How do you connect in meaningful ways with your kids?
Where I work, one colleague makes it a point to attend athletic events all year long. Another acts as mentor to a growing crowd of young women. I think that no matter what you choose, it has to be authentic.
She said in a stage whisper: “Darn these presentations I sign up to give, making me think philosophically.”
* Did I really just use the phrase “spit some lyrics”?
Looking forward to seeing other peoples’ comments. I don’t have a good answer to your question. I just try to make my classroom into a safe place to take risks.
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