If you aren’t having fun doing what you do, why do it? If you’re a neurosurgeon, there probably isn’t much fun to be had in an operating room. Gravedigging probably doesn’t provide many giggles per day, but I don’t know any gravediggers to ask.

This theory guides my teaching methods virtually every day. The fun is to be determined by the grade level. Older kids understand irony and nuance. Younger ones will respond to mispronouncing the familiar or emphasizing the obvious.

In the event that you’re inclined to remind me that fun is articulated nowhere in the curriculum, I suppose that you are correct. But if you spend one hour, one day, or one week in a classroom, you will see what humor does for the educator and the educatee.

Some of it is logic. If kids are asked to add pages of sums, they will quickly drift into boredom. But find a color by addition sum activity and they will embrace it with enthusiasm and energy.

Your next question may be whether or not a sense of humor creates a better, more competent teacher. Along the way, I’ve seen quite a few teachers who seem to have been deprived of anything comedic. I remember the story of one teacher who was in the habit of throwing books in the direction of disobedient students. Does that sound like something amusing for anyone in the classroom?

On the other end of the spectrum, yesterday I indulged in a staring contest with my second grader while he was at lunch. This was the student who later asked me if I could come back Monday or tomorrow (Saturday) and displayed a very sad face when I told him that Saturday was my day off.

Does any of this have to do with who is the better educator? Positively not. But I firmly believe that my kids, seeing me having fun with them, are learning the subject matter and the realization that I love what I do.

My best example of that understanding was the little boy whom I found magical in this second grade class. Every time I looked at him, his entire face smiled at me. I would look at him for no specific reason and waved at him; he immediately waved back. It was the best that teaching ever gets with very few words spoken and many laughs along the way. Shalom.

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