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”?