Recall the teacher(s) who you remember the most from school days. Give it some thought! Why do you remember her/him more than others? What is this memory that has stuck in your mind after all these years? What makes a teacher memorable?
Your mind is now flashing back to those old days! And, most probably those gold days! You may laugh or feel nostalgic and it will show on your face! Surely, this is not due to a concept that your teacher has explained at that time! or an objective that you have accomplished! Or, even a skill that you have mastered! This is eventually due to your feeling when your teacher cared about you, listened to you, was kind with you or made you laugh! Now, you will not remember the words that she/he said and was beyond this feeling, but surely you will remember how the words made you feel!
Teachers who impact you are rare, but their impact is monumental. It is rare to have teachers who care about creating happy moments with their students and bringing humor into the classroom! Many teachers value bringing humor to their classrooms and try doing so. However, they lack the necessary skills to merge between a disciplined and a happy class. These teachers still relate teaching to seriousness and strictness. They believe in this as a mean to maintain order and discipline in favor of maximizing students’ learning moments. A teacher told me once that she has to be strict all day or else she will loose control over her students. She said that the moment she tries to informally talk and laugh with her students, they stop working and start talking and playing around in uncontrolled way. Afterward, she has to put huge efforts to regain classroom control. This pushes her to be strict all time!
Here, I recommend authentic teachers who build a culture of mutual respect. Teachers who live the moment with their students and enjoy it while enforcing classroom rules and regulations. Teachers can be strict without being mean! Strict in implementing the consequences they agreed on with their students for every action being good or bad. Consistency in enforcing the rules and the consequences is a key to make your rules a habit and consequently the key to success!
Teachers must find a balance between creating a learning environment and having joyful classroom moments. These practical strategies will help bringing humor to the classroom while maintaining an adequate learning environment:
- Add to the lesson plan cartoons and comics related to your subject matter.
- Assign a homework asking students to create jokes related to the lesson. Let students share the jokes in the classroom. Students enjoy their friends jokes and may laugh out loud for a silly joke!
- Make fun of a situation that happens in your class or even from your shape. For example; you can make fun from your shape if you are a fat teacher, by asking for a bulldozer to help you stand up from your chair.
- Tell a funny anecdote about a situation that happens with you! You may even create it!
- Play on words (Generate puns). Teachers have to be witty to be able to play on words and make fun of them. However, if you don’t have the ability to do it yourself, search the net for a way to play on the intended words. Check this pun generator for some hilarious ideas. Include it in your lesson plan without students noticing that you are rehearsing a joke! For example, consider yourself a grade one teacher and every time you want to ask them to add a question mark, you say add the “question shark!” Then, you pretend that you said it by mistake! Can you hear these kids laugher and giggles? I can!
- Add physical act outs to your performance. Instead of just telling your students about a butterfly flying in the sky, you can fly like it in class while telling your story. Moreover, Meow like a cat and bark like a dog in Kindergarten and lower elementary classes whenever the class concepts require this will add a lot of humor to the class routines.
While using humor in the classroom always consider the following:
- Never laugh on your students’ mistakes or behavior.
- Consider the age level of your students while telling a joke. What makes you laugh may not make you student laugh and the reverse. Also, be sure that your joke matches your students’ level of understanding or else you will laugh alone.
- Know your students well and gain their respect before you you bring humor to your classroom.
Cultivate any opportunity to make your students enjoy your sessions while keeping the standards up to your expectations. Kids allover the word are suffering nowadays from emotional distress! let the classroom be the place where your students talk, laugh and learn. And always make sure that your class is the space for your students to express themselves freely and respectfully without fear of judgements. Share with us a memory from your school days that you owe for such hilarious teachers.