I hope you’re reading this.
I hope the title piqued your interest. If it did, I’m glad you’re here. The topic is a special one.
I hope I can do it justice.
Bringing laughter into the classroom is so close to my heart that it makes me apprehensive to write about.
I feel like I’m giving away a family secret. Or that I’m somehow betraying the trust of the hundreds of students I’ve had over the years, and the close bonds we’ve shared.
Laughter is one of the ways I’ve turned disparate groups of students into my dream class.
I know it can do the same for you.
Laughter has the rare ability to soften hardened hearts, open shuttered minds, and endear students to one another. It is the key that allows a teacher to reach her hand out to the difficult, the unmotivated, the awkward, and the unhappy…
And have them reach back.
Here are a few more reasons why you should bring more laughter into your classroom:
Your students will love you for it.
When you make an effort to add humor to your lessons, routines, and activities, you instantly become more likeable to your students–which causes them to want to be around you, to please you, and to get to know you better. This, in turn, gives you powerful leverage to influence their behavior.
It’s a common language.
Although it can take time for some students to come around, all students like to laugh. Laughter is the one thing guaranteed to build camaraderie and knock down social and emotional walls, binding students from different backgrounds together into one happy classroom.
It takes little or no planning to bring more laughter to your classroom. All you need is a willingness to try. Your students will appreciate any effort to be funny. They’re primed to laugh. So be your silly self, tell a joke or two, and show your best–or worst–dance moves.
It builds togetherness.
I’m dubious of community circles—at least in the way they’re commonly used. Hashing out grievances can lead to resentment and more things to complain about. Sharing a laugh and having a good time together, however, soothes old wounds and alleviates hurt feelings better than anything else.
It motivates students to behave.
Humor can help you create a classroom your students love being part of. This, along with strict accountability, provides a strong motivator for students to behave. No student wants to wallow in time-out while their classmates are sharing a laugh with the teacher.
It eases tension.
Many classrooms buzz with tension. You can feel it as soon as you walk through the door. And before long, you’ll see it too: excitable, irritable, and misbehaving students. Laughter, however, can relax an uptight classroom—releasing tension, calming vibrating knees, and bringing joy to the room.
It encourages hard work.
When students are happy to be in your class, you can ask so much more of them. They appreciate a classroom they enjoy coming to every day, and they’ll want to repay you for it. It’s human nature. We reciprocate those we feel indebted to.
It reaches the hard to reach.
Humor has the power to help you make personal connections with students, particularly with those who are hardest to reach. When I look back on the most challenging students I’ve had over the years, I can often point to the use of humor as a major factor in helping me turn them around and guide them in the right direction.
The Straight Scoop
There is a common belief that if you use humor in your classroom, you’ll lose control of your students.
But here’s the thing.
If you already have poor classroom management, then yes, it’s true. Trying to be funny will backfire on you. Behavior will likely get worse.
But if you have solid classroom management skills, then bringing more laughter into your classroom will make you even more effective.
And that’s the straight scoop.
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