Not all that classical educators do is grave, somber and serious. What we do is important, but that should not make us self-important. In fact in my book, one mark of a good teacher is that she laughs a lot. And why not? The classroom is a funny place.
So anyone who has taught children for any length of time will find a good deal to laugh about. Here is an episode from my headmaster days that set the entire staff laughing. Colleen, our first grade teacher came bursting into my office with her hand over mouth, trying unsuccessfully to hold back her loud guffaws. She relayed the following… She had been teaching the class that week about the second coming of Christ during the Bible class. During that same week, a construction crew was completing a job installing new brick outside and had reached Colleen’s second story classroom window. Now the construction crew had placed thick, protective plastic over the window and also raised the scaffolding level with the base of the window. Just a few minutes after discussing the second coming, a student suddenly pointed to the window and shouted, “Look, it’s Jesus!” Sure enough, there was man with a long beard striding across the air in front of the second story window. Another student shouted, “And he’s smoking!” And indeed he was.
If you have a comic classroom story–let’s hear it.
Mine isn’t quite as laugh out loud funny, but it was a nice moment with my seventh grade class this year, as shared on my blog earlier this spring.
A Little History Humor
I had the best moment in history this week when I realized that seventh grade is finally starting to get my dry humor. The irony of course is that we’re almost to the end of the year…
How do I know they are catching on? Well, this week we encountered another one of those names that probably weren’t quite as funny in AD 9 as they are now. This time it was a governor in Germania named Vindex. I wasn’t going to share the name, in order to save on confusion, but I still had it written in my notes. When I saw it, I chuckled; of course I was standing in front of the class, and when I looked at their faces and saw the curiosity I couldn’t keep it to myself. (I might have a sense of humor that is foreign to them, but I don’t need to appear to be totally crazy!)
So I wrote the name on the board and reminded them of their Latin pronunciation. Comprehending faces burst into grins and little chuckles in different places in the room. What’s so funny? The V in Latin is actually pronounced as a W. Silly humor I know, but most people today just don’t name their children Windex.