What if I told you I had the secret to relieving stress, improving your immune system, relieving pain, and increasing student or staff engagement?
There’s a reason why Ted Lasso is the #1 show right now!
If you haven’t seen Ted Lasso, it’s a must-watch! He’s the dad joke pro, connects with his team and staff, charms everyone with anecdotes, and creates a positive atmosphere with a Midwestern accent and an epic mustache. Millions tune in each week for a laugh, motivation, and a heart-warming story. He’s an honorary part of the Stand Tall crew, “Don't sell yourself short. If anything, sell yourself tall and get it altered later.” But, accent and mustache aside, isn’t that the kind of leader you want to be? Everyone thrives in a supportive, positive, and light-hearted workspace. Don’t believe me? Here are 5 Teaching Tips from the Coach & Educator who Inspired Ted Lasso.
Laughter is the best medicine!
Even The Mayo Clinic agrees with me. There are scientific benefits of humor. Don’t let cranky co-workers down the hall deter you from building a humorous workspace. Humor is a valuable tool in all classrooms or workspaces. As an experienced educator, there are tons of ways to use humor in the classroom, including riddles, puns, dad jokes, avatars, and memes. Think about the power of just a smile!
All you need is a pocket full of riddles, puns, dad jokes, avatars, and memes.
Humor is a powerful tool that can help create a relaxed, positive, and engaging learning environment in the classroom. As a former teacher and administrator, I have seen firsthand how humor can enhance student learning and create a sense of community in the classroom. Incorporating humor in the classroom can create a relaxed, engaging learning environment that students enjoy being a part of without spending a penny! This is where you create the climate and culture of your classroom within your boundaries of what you respect and value.
Rules for Humor with a Sprinkle of Social-Emotional Learning
We need to start with guidelines and expectations. Gang, building connections and relationships is so important. You are trying something new to build relationships with your students, staff, or organization. The last thing you want to do is tear down that relationship. We are trying to liven things up, NOT lose a job! When it comes to social-emotional learning (SEL) our youngsters are learning the ropes. How many student or staff conflicts were a result of a joke that’s gone too far or a comment made out of context? Be proactive and set the expectations, bring it back to what you respect and value.
- Not all jokes are appropriate for the classroom. Start with content or theme-based jokes; do not direct them to individuals.
- Avoid jokes or comments that are derogatory or offensive. This is non-negotiable.
- Be cautious when using memes to ensure they are appropriate for the classroom. I see it with my own kids; some words or phrases have a whole new meaning than before!
- No roasting. While it is pop culture, it’s not the kind of humor that creates a safe place for learning and growing.
- “At dinner parties, don’t discuss religion, politics, or anyone else outside of the room,” as a general rule of thumb. It may be an old-fashioned approach, but it applies here perfectly. Overall, don’t speak about someone that isn’t in the room.
Want to learn more about the importance of SEL? I can help!
WHY YOU NEED HUMOR
Reduces stress and anxiety: Humor is a natural stress reliever that can help reduce student tension. When students are relaxed and comfortable, they are more likely to engage in learning and retain information.
Increases engagement and participation: Humor can be used to make learning fun and engaging. When students are having fun, they are more likely to participate and be actively involved in the learning process. Humor also helps break up traditional teaching or training methods' monotony, making learning more enjoyable and exciting. As a former educator and administrator, I know how effective dull presentations are. THEY AREN’T effective at all! Breathe some life into your lessons and presentations!
Builds rapport with students: Humor can help teachers build rapport with their students. When teachers use humor in the classroom, they demonstrate that they are approachable and relatable. This helps create a positive relationship between the staff and students, leading to better communication and cooperation. Who knew jokes could improve relationship building?
Create a positive classroom culture: Gang, you know how I feel about creating a positive school climate and culture. Humor can help create a positive and inclusive classroom culture. For example, when students and teachers share a laugh, it facilitates a sense of community and belonging in the classroom. This helps to foster a supportive and accepting environment where students feel valued and respected.
Improves retention and recall: Humor is an effective way to make information more memorable. Students who laugh or find something amusing are more likely to remember it. In addition, humor can be used to reinforce key concepts and help students retain information. Jokes are the perfect way to inject humor into the classroom, start a lesson, or break up a lecture's monotony. Jokes can be used to reinforce concepts or to help students remember important information. Check out these teacher-approved jokes for the classroom!
Joke of the Day
Here’s a free tip from my book in the series Ideas, Ideas, Ideas and Stand Tall Leadership.
Every morning during announcements, I say the joke of the day. The joke is usually a goofy riddle that may or may not be funny. In fact, the ones that are not funny are the funniest. After telling the joke, I laugh. Even if it is not funny, I laugh. This is done every day we have morning announcements. After doing this for the first few weeks, I knew I was on to something big. I started hearing students repeating the jokes in the hallways. Students would come to me with their own goofy jokes. Parents would share that each night at dinner, they would ask what the joke of the day was. I even had substitute teachers excited to come to my school just to hear the day's joke.
What’s the big deal about the joke of the day?
The joke of the day sets the tone for learning throughout the day. It starts everyone on a positive note. Everyone likes a good joke. Everyone likes bad jokes, too. Throughout the day, students and staff within the school could reflect back on the joke to give them a little pick me up whenever they needed it. The joke of the day is an excellent icebreaker for family discussion. Instead of parents starting the conversation with, “How was your day...” and the child responding, “It was okay...” The conversation begins with, “...tell me the joke of the day!” Instantly, dialog starts and you have a worthwhile conversation.
Eventually, I purchased a mailbox and placed it outside of the main office where students, parents, staff, and community could leave jokes for me. If I told a student’s joke during the announcements, they would get recognition and a small prize. Saying the joke of the day takes less than a minute. You do not have to be a good joke-teller to do it. It will be even funnier if you don’t know how to tell a joke. Do you need some good jokes? Here are some links:
- 101 Short Jokes Anyone Can Remember
- 200 Jokes to Laugh Your Socks Off
- 210 Best Jokes for Kids of All Ages
Opening the lesson with Dad jokes is another excellent way to incorporate humor in the classroom. These are typically silly, pun-filled jokes that elicit a few students to groan. While dad jokes may not be the height of comedic genius, they are an easy and effective way to inject a bit of humor into the classroom.
Here’s another free tip from 23 Ideas for 2023: Did you sign up for your free copy yet?
Use the link below and pick a joke for each day of the week. Start or end your class with the Joke of the Day. You do not have to be good at telling a joke. Actually, the worse you are, the better. Try to get as many moans from the kids as possible. 145 Dad Jokes
Memes are another popular way to use humor in the classroom.
Memes are images or videos with humorous captions that are shared online. Teachers can use memes to add humor to a lesson or to create a more relaxed, fun atmosphere in the classroom. However, teachers should be cautious when using memes to ensure they are appropriate for the classroom. Sneak them into your presentations, add them to directions, and include them on tests!
Bitmojis and Avatars
Have you seen the Bitmoji classrooms and interactive digital spaces teachers created during the pandemic? I always say, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” and this is proof! The digital spaces these professionals created are dynamic! There are digital classrooms that have everything from furniture, whiteboards, bookshelves with links, and inspirational themes. There are whole Facebook groups, Subreddits, and Twitter feeds full of free resources from teachers. These activities will be popular longer than your booster shot. (See, humor!) Add a Bitmoji to your presentations, directions, classwork, or emails! Your students will be your biggest fans! What is a Bitmoji Classroom?
Add your image to historical events photos.
If you haven’t been on #TeacherTok, you are missing out! There is a world of resources outside of viral dances on TikTok. Imagine how engaged your students would be looking for your face in your presentations. A history “Where’s Waldo” in your class every day? YES! I recently came across these videos where teachers use PowerPoint to easily edit photos, and superimpose their faces in the crowds of major historical events. Can you spot Stand Tall Steve in the photo above? You have to check this out:
Clearly, humor is an important tool that teachers can use to create a positive and engaging learning environment in the classroom. By reducing stress and anxiety, increasing engagement and participation, building rapport with students, improving retention and recall, and creating a positive classroom culture, humor can have a powerful impact on student learning and success. While it's important to use humor appropriately and avoid offensive jokes, incorporating humor can benefit students and teachers alike. Just like all new professional development tips, you can’t use them all at once. Try them out and see what fits! So don't be afraid to inject a little humor into your classroom - your students will thank you for it! Let me know how it goes!
Need some help getting started? Let’s connect. https://calendly.com/standtallsteve/15min
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