I teach a class of grade 12 boys, and they are my favourite group by far. There are 4 girls in the class, but they rarely show up, so it's usually just the boys. At this age they are comfortable having actual conversations with adults (me) and most days they are willing to talk about almost anything if it means avoiding work. The best moments, however, are when they forget I'm listening. If I sit quietly, and keep my head down, I hear the most interesting things!
On Wednesday we were talking about love songs. This is not so far fetched, since I'm doing a poetry unit right now, and music fits right in. I asked them to bring me the worlds best love song, and then we listened to each selection and talked it through. They were brilliant. Girls listen to a lot of love songs, and are fairly predictable with their choices. The boys, however, surprised me. They had unique songs, ones I hadn't thought about, and they had excellent reasons for their selections. They looked for acceptance, humour, intelligence, and reality in the songs. They chose music about empowering women. Physical attraction was NOT the top of the list.
After the lesson, while they were working quietly on an assignment, a few guys were still chatting about relationships. Yes, really. This led to one of the most brilliant statements made by a student this year. I kept my head down, and my ears open. I also let the topic wander a bit, to see where this would take us.
"A" was talking about his girlfriend. Incidentally, she is also about to be the mother of his child. Apparently, he discovered that she is cheating on him with a mutual acquaintance. His reaction was to declare that he would now go sleep with that guy's girlfriend, to show him what it's like. To get even. To hurt them as much as they hurt him.
A few of the boys were in favour. One smart guy pointed out that it seemed risky...a girl "like that", with a guy "like that" probably equaled a hot bed (ha!) of STI's.
Then "B" said "If you do that, will it make you a better man than he is? No. It will make you just as low."
A bout of brilliance. From a seventeen year old boy.