There have been times I’ve discussed teaching on the blog. I’ve been deliberately vague – because I was still teaching.
I talked about How I Told My Students about Alexander the first year back… And how I told them the Second Time. I blogged about how My Students Saved Me from drowning in Special Needs, and I blogged my farewell Letters to my Students. I even blogged my frustration for Students who Didn’t Graduate, but I have never posted a lesson on – line. *Well.. I have some lessons on the internet – but not here *
And… some of them – I am really proud of. Would you like to know what it is really like in my classroom? How about I show you one of the most controversial lessons I’ve ever taught? And, how it changed my life and the life of my kids.
It involves an Eminem Video, Domestic Violence, and a hard look at the relationships between people in those situations.
So … here goes. I taught Sociology. It is the science of Societies. But, I really taught it as “Sociological Lessons.”
** Preface: I used to have students find a song on the radio that deals with something they learned in class. Since there are a TON of songs that deal with problems or issues in society – this is a super easy assignment. **
For their song, they had to: Name the Song / Artist of the Song / What the song seemed like it was about at first glance / And then – What the song was Really About.
Example: Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. At first glance, it seems like a person wants a “fast car.” When you listen closer, you realize the song is about escaping the circumstances of her life… especially poverty.
This lesson has been a fun one for my students – until the year “Love the Way you Lie” came out. For those of you who don’t know – it was a duet by Eminem and Rihanna. I had 5 girls pick it – it is about domestic violence.
Here was the problem… 4 of those 5 girls said:
It was really about how much those two people loved each other and they would rather die than be apart.
This. Is. Not. What. That. Song. Is. About.
You can watch the video below. Warning: Grandma – there are a lot of cuss words in it.
Now I was faced with a dilemma… What was I going to do about this? How would I handle the fact that these girls thought this song was about true love? I felt (and still do) I had a moral responsibility to discuss this.
1. I showed the video in class. Complete with cuss words. It was important. **I offered to let students go to the library if they thought they were going to be offended.**
2. I put the lyrics on the board. You can view them below.
3. We read it like poetry. I actually read it aloud to them, with pauses and rephrasing – so the song came out like a conversation instead of hate words.
4. Would you like to know what the song is really about?
In the song, Rihanna says, “I love the way you lie.” You never really understand that until the end, when Eminem says, “Even though I know its lies” – about his promise never to hurt her again.
Point? Sometimes the sweetest words exchanged between 2 people happen after an argument. When the heat has died down and the apologies happen. In normal relationships – the heat is .. just – an argument. But after, we say, “I love you.” “I’m sorry.” “I’ll never do that again.” Rihanna knows those words are lies, but she also loves hearing the sweet things. This is why many people stay in abusive relationships… they want to believe those sweet words. They love those sweet words… even when they know they are lies.
I’m proud of this lesson. Yes, cuss words were shown in a video. But – people don’t really understand the dynamics of domestic violence. Some statistics have the ratio of 1:3 women will be victims of violence… that number is too high. If they recognize what is happening – maybe they won’t be a victim.
**One more thing… My students loved this lesson. I’m not bragging. Even a student that I know wants to be a minister when he grows up stayed for it. We had a long conversation about how meaningful it was to understand domestic violence. I’ve had conversation after conversation with students about this lesson… It did make a difference for them. **
And – that folks… was a day in my classroom.
Love The Way You Lie Lyrics: Eminem ft Rihanna –
(The words Bolded in Parentheses are my thoughts.)
[Chorus - Rihanna]
Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
just gonna stand there and hear me cry
that’s alright because I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie
[Eminem - Verse 1]
I can’t tell you what it really is
I can only tell you what it feels like
and right now it’s a steel knife in my windpipe (Painful)
I can’t breathe but I still fight while I can fight
as long as the wrong feels right it’s like I’m in flight
high off of love drunk from my hate (He’s high..euphoria)
it’s like I’m huffin’ paint and I love it the more I suffer, I suffocate
and right before I’m about to drown, she resuscitates me, (She saves him)
she f*&*n’ hates me and I love it (He knows she hates him, but she loves him enough to save him)
(Conversation starts here: He says:)
“ wait, where you goin’?”
”I’m leavin’ you,”
“ no you ain’t come back”
we’re runnin’ right back, here we go again
its so insane, cause when it’s goin’ good its goin’ great
I’m superman with the wind in his back, she’s Lois Lane (Who is Superman? Who is his true love?)
but when its bad its awful, I feel so ashamed
I snap – “whose that dude?”
“ I don’t even know his name”
I laid hands on her
I never stoop so low again
I guess I don’t know my own strength (Here – he is promising to never hurt her again.)
[Eminem - Verse 2]
you ever love somebody so much you can barely breathe?
when your with em you meet and neither one of you even know what hit em
got that warm fuzzy feeling (He’s describing that first love feeling)
yeah them chills used to get em
now you’re getting f*&*n’ sick of lookin’ at em
you swore you’d never hit em, never do nothin’ to hurt em
now you’re in each other’s face spewin’ venom in your words when you spit em
you push pull each other’s hair
scratch, claw, hit em throw em down pin em
so lost in the moments when you’re in em
it’s the face that’s the culprit, controls you both
so they say it’s best to go your separate ways (In abusive relationships.. Friends will tell you that you should leave)
guess that they don’t know ya
cause today that was yesterday
yesterday is over, it’s a different day (He is offering a chance to start over)
sound like broken records playin’ over
but you promised her next time you’ll show restraint
you don’t get another chance (She is trying to leave here – )
life is no Nintendo game, but you lied again
now you get to watch her leave out the window
guess that’s why they call it window pane
[Eminem - Verse 3]
(He is calm here… reasoning)
now I know we said things, did things, that we didn’t mean
and we fall back into the same patterns, same routine
(He tells her they are the same.. implying they belong together.)
but your temper’s just as bad as mine is, you’re the same as me
when it comes to love you’re just as blinded
(Pay Attention. This is the key. Here – he pleads with her. He says the sweetest words to her. Listen to the desperation in his voice. It almost sounds like love.)
baby please come back, it wasn’t you, baby it was me
maybe our relationship isn’t as crazy as it seems
maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano
all I know is I love you too much to walk away though
come inside, pick up the bags off the sidewalk
don’t you hear sincerity in my voice when I talk?
(Again… he seems sincere. He is begging… “Look me in the eyes.”)
Told you this is my fault, look me in the eyeball
next time I’m pissed I’ll lay my fist at the drywall
next time there won’t be no next time
I apologize even though I know its lies
I’m tired of the games I just want her back
I know I’m a liar if she ever tries to f*&*n’ leave again
I’m a tie her to the bed and set this house on fire
(He says: “I apologize – even though I know its lies.” … And she stays because – She loves the way he lies. Sometimes the sweetest words exchanged between people happen after an argument. She loves those words. She believes, even though she knows he is lying – because she loves those sweet words.)