How much laughter and humor do bring into the classroom?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by perplexed, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. perplexed

    perplexed Comrade

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    Compared to one of my co-teachers, I feel sooo serious. I'm not an outgoing, comedic kind of person. When I'm teaching, I like to teach. I don't really joke around that much and draw silly attention to myself--I know it's just something I'm not comfortable about. I'm a pretty reserved person. I'll laugh about something or say something funny that relates to what we're doing, but it's pretty subtle or not distracting. It's not like I don't smile, but I also don't joke around I guess. I feel so serious in that class though, like I'm the only one that wants the lesson to happen.

    My co-teacher is constantly cutting into the lesson with something to be funny. Sometimes he'll randomly yell something funny about someone or clap obnoxiously after someone has read a journal. I think some teachers could pull it off, but I don't think he's developed classroom management for it yet. After the journal, it took a lot more work to get the kids settled after he was goofing around. It's like he got them riled up, and then left me with them as he went to his desk to work.

    Today he noticed a girl had a pon poms uniform on and started showing the class his dance moves or cheers. This was during their journal time when it's supposed to be quiet. That got them all hyped up. I know if it were my own class in my own room, it wouldn't have happened that way. But then, I think that I'm too serious and that it's okay to be funny too. Maybe I don't bring in enough humor.
     
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  3. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    It just depends on the class. I have taught first grade for 4 years and every year it seems different. My first my kids didn't get half the jokes I said and they didn't like to mess around. They were a very serious group of kids. They still are. My youngest is in that grade and well they just are serious. My second year they were to busy fighting among themselves to be playful. In fact I just visited a the grade level that they are in last week and they are still fighting. Last years class, Love them!!! They could get silly and be silly and then go right into learning. They were awesome. This years class, NOT happening to immature.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    We have fun while learning in my classroom, but we have no time for silly.
     
  5. 1cubsfan

    1cubsfan Companion

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    It sounds as though you are self conscious about being too serious or "no fun".

    I can't recall my 9th grade math teachers name or anything about him. He was a very serious, cut to the chase kind of guy. But I remember algebra, and that's what matters.

    Learning is the most important thing that must happen in the classroom. Engaging students is essential to learning, but engagement does NOT need to come from being silly or goofy. Having good rapport with students is important, but again, it does NOT need to come from being silly or goofy.

    Are you students engaged? Are the participating? Are they on task? Are they learning?

    Do you have good relationships with your students? Do you know their names? Are they comfortable asking a question or participating in class?

    You should seek to succeed in those areas. Some teachers do that through being funny, telling jokes, personal stories, etc. But you don't have to. And your point about needing a high level of classroom management in order to pull it off is 100% correct.

    You don't need to worry about whether or not you are "boring" or "too serious".

    And maybe have a chat with your co-teacher.
     
  6. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I like to joke around in class. If I can't smile or laugh during class I'd be miserable! I lightly make fun of the kids, make lots of jokes and only occasionally break out my dance moves. But that's the type of person I am. I'm also strict enough to bring the kids back to focus on the lesson.

    You should teach with your personality. If you are more serious and reserved, then your classroom should be that way. If you are silly and outgoing, then your classroom should reflect that. Stay true to yourself and your students will be successful.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I can't help but joke around every now and then in my class. When a kid says something funny, sometimes I can't help but laugh or smile, and that usually gets everyone going. It's simply my personality, and my classes can be lively. I'm silly during notes (I liven content up with outrageous examples-helps memory), I'm silly sometimes during a quiz (silly questions pop up now and again on certain quizzes), etc.

    If it's not you, don't worry about it.

    What I have noticed is that being silly unreservedly will give you a nightmare with classroom management. My management suffers sometimes because I accidentally suffer some students who say something funny and give it attention, and so everyone thinks it's okay to say jokes out loud in class or be jokers.

    It's tough to strike a balance. So while I think it's okay to be silly, you REALLY have to regulate it if you want an easier time teaching.
     
  8. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I taught first... we could be silly once in awhile when we had a few mins of down time. Like others... I think you have to pick and choose those moments.... some seem to lend themselves to it.... and some just don't.

    Our school would play music as the kids would come into class in the mornings and during March it was Irish type music. So I would say before they shut it off ... I feel the jig coming on... so we would all giggle and do a little silly dance. It was so funny after the first day the kids would giggle and jig themselves.

    I think bringing some fun to the class makes the class a little more fun for everyone. I had serious teachers that I remember for that... I have some that were a little more fun and I remember those times. I think the things I really remember are when those teacher's had those opposite moments because you just weren't expecting that...
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We laugh a lot. Not (usually) silly laughter, but we seem to find a lot to laugh about.
     
  10. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    I try to be tough early and then slowly ease up. Funny moments come in a classroom no matter how tight a ship you run. Let these moments be funny an move on.
    Also, having a good laugh every one win a while lends itself to "work hard, play hard."
     
  11. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    We laugh a lot in my class. But, it is almost always related to content. I love laughing with my students, but it doesn't interfere with learning.
     
  12. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I like to joke around. Today, for example, we got to talking about algebra. I always tell my kids that they aren't allowed to say anything negative about algebra. They can tell me they don't understand, or that they need help, but that I don't want to hear that algebra is stupid, for example.

    Well, one of my kids raised his hand and asked, "But what if I really DO think algebra is stupid?" Well, at that point, I kinda flopped down on my seat, as though the shock of hearing algebra being called stupid was too much for me to take. The kids laughed and thought it was funny, but it opened up a discussion about WHY I don't want them to say negative things about it.

    I do think it really depends on the tone of your class, though. I have another class where things like that DO NOT go on. The kids can't handle any type of disruption without going completely off the rails, so I don't joke around like that.
     
  13. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Oct 30, 2012

    I was once in almost the exact same situation. I'm a fairly serious person who will throw in some subtle humor from time to time, but I had a co-teacher who would try his best to be a performer.

    Just like you said, my co-teacher would rile them up during what was supposed to be quiet time. They'd be reading silently and he'd swing an imaginary baseball bat at a kid's head. We'd be right in the middle of test review and he'd jump up and click his heels together. And, of course, I'd be the one who had to get them back on track.

    The only thing that ever worked for me was giving suggestions in a subtle way. Something like: "Yeah, that class got pretty out of hand towards the end, didn't it? Maybe we should dial it down a few notches."
     
  14. Ranchwife

    Ranchwife Companion

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    I was worried about this early in my career and spoke to another mentor teacher about it. I am reserved and don't like at all to do anything that will embarrass anyone else, let alone myself. I banter with the kids, but I can't make myself sing and dance and be goofy. That simply isn't who I am. The mentor teacher told me that kids will respect me more as a person if I am myself all the time and not trying to be like anyone else. I took this to heart and haven't worried about it since.

    So my advice to you is - always be yourself!! Don't try to make yourself like anyone else. Don't try to do what others do. You can only be you. Find what works best for you and run with it. At my school, I'm not known for being the fun teacher. I'm known for being the quiet teacher whom everyone learns the most from. I prefer that title to being a fun teacher because it means I'm doing my job well.

    Be yourself!!
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I definitely bring humor to the class because I love to laugh and have a great sense of humor, but dancing during journal time, and doing other silly things that distract students is a recipe for disaster. If it doesn't enhance the lesson (and in this case it sounds like it might have hindered it) then it should be saved for a better time and a better place.
     
  16. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    If he makes humor work, good on him. Don't be down on his teaching style.

    If you make being serious work, good on you. I hope he's not down on your serious nature.

    Maybe if I experienced it, I'd feel different - but co-teaching seems like a major drag to me. For it to be great too much has to line up (both teachers wanting it, meshing personalities, mutual respect, etc.) and it sucks the fun out of a classroom. I'm sure I'll experience it in my career, but I hope it's much later rather than sooner.

    As others in this thread have said. You just need to be yourself. If you like to be silly and goof around, do it. If you like to be serious all of the time, do it. Don't try to be what you're not, and in my opinion - the biggest - don't cut down another teacher's teaching style.

    If it bothers you so much that you think he gets the kids off task, talk to him about it. Come up with an agreement whereby he leaves humor/outbursts for when he's working with the kids (maybe like 5-10 min before you takeover, however you guys work it out). I'm sure he'll respect your request.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 30, 2012

    :thumb:
     
  18. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I use humor as salt and spices: sparingly, only to enhance the learning process.
     
  19. Accountable

    Accountable Companion

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    ^ This!^

    I'm a bit of a spaz and a wisecracker. We laugh often, and I'm often the one who laughs the loudest. But that's me.

    Another teacher at our school barely says two words outside the classroom, always looks a bit sullen and depressed to me. But the students absolutely adore her. I don't know what magic happens when the door closes, but it works for her.

    Find what works for you. Make the magic happen.
     
  20. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Oct 30, 2012

    Exactly.
     
  21. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I would find your co-teacher annoying. I like to joke around but breaking out dance moves is a bit over the top.
     
  22. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    While student teaching, my master teacher told me I needed to relax and have more fun with the kids. That it was okay to laugh with them, and to laugh if I make a mistake. Today, I had the kindergartners and as I was walking them to the classroom I tripped (I was walking backwards) and fell on my booty. Normally, this would've really irked me, but I stood up, said TA DAH! bowed. The kids laughed, I laughed, and we all moved on.

    Kids tell me that I'm fun but they also behave for me and I make them work hard. I've been called "too strict" by some kids and their parents. :D Good! I'm fun and strict! :)
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I enjoyed being silly with my middle schoolers. Random, completely unrelated to content silly. This was usually at the beginning or end of class or after assemblies and things like that... not a given every day. I had strong classroom management so I could pull it off with only a couple students having difficultly staying on this side of the line over the years, but still no major issues.

    But I would NOT interrupt another teacher's lesson or flow. No way.
     
  24. Accountable

    Accountable Companion

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    I completely missed that it was a co-teach situation. I must be tired. Yes, the co-teachers must adapt to each other's styles. If one makes the other uncomfortable or throws them off their game, the students can't possibly learn much. The co-teacher's "fun" is damaging the team.
     
  25. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I was just reflecting on this the other day. I often wonder if I am too serious to teach grade 1. I don't 'get' a lot of their humor and don't find bathroom conversations entertaining. But I do enjoy their wit and banter and strive to make our learning experiences positive and engaging.
     
  26. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I find that humor and being silly really works with the younger grades (K-4). In 5th grade, humor still works, but it is less silly. They do have a good sense of humor at that age. I find that humor works, but I don't allow them to change the course of a classroom by being silly. I like to get their attention by being funny or by surprising them and dressing up as a person in history or a book character and act like that character. They often find this funny, if I get really dramatic about the character. Humor really helps them to remember more of the key concepts I am teaching.

    I am not spontaneously goofy though. I feel the humor should be part of the lesson and not detract from it.
     
  27. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    If he makes humor work, good on him. Don't be down on his teaching style.

    If you make being serious work, good on you. I hope he's not down on your serious nature.


    Good point!!
     

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