Believe it or not (its up to you) but joy and laughter can exist in a classroom where actual learning happens. How do I know? Most days this is what my classroom looked like (I hope).
How can you do this? Be YOU! Yes learning needs to happen. Yes there is some sort of high stakes test the students have to perform well on. Yes teaching students is one of the most important things that any society can support.
But…students have a lifetime to hang out with grumpy suits and dour faced office workers. Don’t make them suffer through this yet.
Let them enjoy your class. Make it fun. Do something engaging. Crack a joke and laugh at yourself. Show a funny clip to start the day. Sometimes funny clips can spark interesting conversation…I like this one. Then I like to talk about how failure is an important part of the learning process. I also laugh from my gut every time I watch it.
Let the students demonstrate their learning through comedy, a funny skit or something similar.
When students make an emotional connection (humor or other, which do you want to be remembered for?) they usually remember what was going on. I’m not trying to say that class should be all unicorns and rainbows. There are times, as a teacher, when you have to pull your students along. Sell them a commodity they are not interested in buying. Grumble at them when they don’t do what they are capable of….
Remember this – students need to grow and thrive. They need to feel support as they are moving through your class. They need encouragement when they are faltering. They need cheers when they accomplish something epic.
A thriving culture flourishes in a classroom where students know they are supported. Where the teacher genuinely smiles and is friendly, but also has high expectations. Where learning is allowed to be a little messy and students have the freedom to be themselves.
There is so much joy in the education process – seeing a student really “get it” for the first time is priceless.
What kind of classroom would you want to learn in?