Archive | 5:40 am

Livin’ in the Persian’s Paradise

15 Mar

As kids, we often took familiar tunes and rewrote the lyrics to serve whatever purpose we could find. TV theme songs, commercial jungles, holiday songs. I can still sing a particularly nasty one we wrote – to the tune of Hark the Herald Angels Sing – about how much we were going enjoy seeing the last of our grade seven teacher. She was the only teacher I never warmed to.

Even now,  when a particular sentence recalls the rhythm of a line of song, I will sing it, to myself, to Lucy, and, sometimes to my students.

As class was ending Wednesday, we had a few extra minutes, so I asked for volunteers to share a “performance” of one of the “tasks” they are producing for the Ancient Mesopotamia simulation we have been doing. We are nearing the end and most presentations have been exhortations to the people of Ancient Mesopotamia about irrigation, skits about scribes and cuneiform, or “songs” that sound more like poetic recitations with a lot of giggling.

“J is ready to do his performance, Ms G,” a Hittite told me.

This ought to be interesting, I thought. J is a little quiet and likes to play the class clown, but, he is as capable as anyone else. I wondered, how bad could it be, right?

J turned his ever-present baseball cap sideways and swaggered up to the front of the room, a fellow Hittite carrying a Chromebook joining him. Clearly the sound man. J took his place, turned his cap a quarter turn and announced, “This is Persian’s Paradise sung to the tune of Gangsta’s Paradise.”

I balked a little. Should I have looked over his lyrics first? But the familiar music started to play and J began to rap. He was clearly nervous at first, but then he got his groove going. You know how the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day? Well mine was doing the same thing. J’s lyrics were amazing.  Everyone in the room was diggin’ it. Well, maybe I was diggin’ it and the students were doing whatever Gen Zers do.

When J finished, I am sure the whoops  and applause were audible in the office. He was clearly proud of himself and his classroom cred had risen considerably. We all left for lunch singing “Been spendin’ most their lives/ livin’ in the Persian’s paradise”.

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