And, so today is February 14th, that day apparently named after a Saint Valentine, but was probably actually just invented by Hallmark to make more money. And, so, I thought it only appropriate to do a lesson on this topic with my four groups of premiers (year 12s) today. I drew a heart on the board and got them to fill it with words they associated with a day, we then did a quiz on the ways Valentine’s Day in celebrated in the UK (the fact that girls can propose if it’s a leap year, how many text messages we send, how much money we spend etc.) and then we looked at proverbs about love and discussed which ones we liked and if we agreed with them or not. After the lessons I discussed with one of my colleague that the reason I thought the lesson has been successful, despite it being quite a lot to ask a group of 16-17 year olds to talk about love, was because I asked them to talk about the idea of love in general and not directly their own experiences of love. My colleague laughed and said “they’ve experienced so little [in love] yet they have opinions about in.” And this got me thinking about my own experience of ‘love’ when I was in year 12...
I was ‘dating’ this boy in the year above, which essentially meant hanging out together in the common room in free periods during the school day and then hanging out on ‘the green’ after school and at weekends. (That’s right, College Green, the grassy area outside the Council House in central Bristol, the very same ‘green’ that the teenagers of Skins hangout on). Until one day, after about two weeks of ‘dating’ he came to my house and we ‘made out’ (the kissing sort) for over an hour (I know this coz we listened to the whole Jack Johnston album in that time). In the silence that filled the album ending I (with his gentle encouragement) decided to insight taking things to the next step, my then my mother walked in at that point! So he went home! He then invited me to his house a few days later, clearly with the plan of finishing what we started, but my friend was ill that day so I covered her shift at work, then, a bit embarrassed about the whole thing I avoided him at school after that. A week or so later, he sent me a MySpace message of all things (those were the days, eh?) saying “his head wasn’t in the right place for him at the moment”! Tant mieux pour lui! (All the better for him!) Because his next girlfriend he ended up getting pregnant and now they live together with their lovely little girl and are engaged to be married.
But as I giggled to myself on my walk home today, remembering my innocent experience of love when I was in year 12, I reflected how well my premiers handled the topic today.
I personally have had a great Valentine’s Day – successful lessons and DVDs on offer at FNAC so me and my flatmate are now in for an evening of film watching and cake eating (I came home with DVDs and she came home with cake ingredients.) I hope you’ve all had a good Valentine’s Day too (despite the bus strikes in the city making it impossible to get anywhere and Dijon’s info screens with big flashing hearts and messages of love reminding us singletons quite how single we are!)