“Then he kissed me,” sang Nikki out loud and a little off-key. My high school senior students were cutting, gluing, coloring and assembling learning games for preschoolers. It wasn’t one of those times the classroom needed to be quiet. No one responded to Nikki’s short impromptu song. Some were having conversations of their own as they worked.
“Then he kissed me,” chimed Nikki again. I was working on something at my desk. No comment came from me either.
“Then he kissed me,” sang Nikki a third time as she continued to work. Finally she turned to her classmates. “I can’t get that song out of my head. How does the rest of it go?” A few classmates looked interested but no correct answers came forth.
Someone said, “I think it’s from a movie.”
Another one offered, “Was it in Pretty Woman?”
Silently I chuckled to myself. That song was from my era, way, way back. Of course, a teenager who heard it in a movie today might think it was more recent. A brief conversation among my students followed. No one asked my opinion. Several students suggested movies they thought featured the song. I made a quick internal decision.
Teachable Moments = Reachable Moments
“Each time I saw him I couldn’t wait to see him again.”
I stopped singing, but I continued working. I still had not looked up. From the periphery of my vision I could see them glancing at one another. Are we hearing things? Was the teacher singing? No way. I waited a long pause. Eyes down, still looking intent on my work, I sang another line with feeling.
“I wanted to let him know that he was more than a friend.”
Oh good grief the teacher was singing. How embarrassing was this? You could feel the discomfort in the room. Had Mrs. Easley gone mad? But not one person spoke. All eyes were glued to me. Finally I looked up as I sang the next line. I made slow and deliberate eye contact with each of them.
“I didn’t know just what to do”
“And so I whispered ‘I love you’.”
I waited even a longer pause. They were frozen. No one even breathed. They had almost forgotten how embarrassed they were. They were totally hooked into the story of the song. When I knew I “had” them all I sang on slowly and deliberately.
“He said that he loved me too…
And then he kissed me.”
You could feel the sigh in the room. Not one person said a word. Nobody wanted to break the spell. Finally I spoke.
“Ladies, a kiss well done, I mean really well done is the sexiest experience in the world. That’s because a totally great kiss carries so much emotion in it. If you don’t think so, you’ve been kissing the wrong toads. Take your time…and enjoy the kisses, ladies.”
A couple of the girls nodded. I happened to be teaching in what we call an at-risk environment. This senior class had several young mothers and a couple of pregnant students too. Clearly some toads had already arrived.
But you could see that they agreed with me. I wanted to remind them that they truly deserved some great kisses. Slowly and only gradually they went back to work. There was a hush, a closeness, in the room. “The Kiss Lesson” wasn’t anywhere in my lesson plans or daily objectives. If I had been with another group of students it might never have happened. But it was the best and most memorable thing that happened that day…for all of us.
TEACH…To Change Lives
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