Previously posted on
May 8, 2007

I was walking down the hall one day and noticed a young lady down on her hands and knees looking closely at the floor. Assuming she had lost a contact, I got down on the floor and starting looking, too.

“Lose a contact?” I asked.

“No,” she replied. “I sneezed and blew out my nose ring.”

Realizing what she had just said, she gave me a look that said …and maybe I shouldn’t have said that to the principal…

There was a split-second pause and then we both started laughing.

We found the nose ring. And in a true gesture of gallant chilvary I let HER pick it up.

I never had to say a word. Nose rings are against the rules, and she was so busted. She stopped wearing it to school.

We house the Newcomer Academy here. It is a total English language immersion program and we discourage the students from using their native language during lessons. One of the students in our Newcomer Academy answered a question in class one day and used the f-bomb. When the teacher attempted to correct him with the prompt of, “That is not appropriate language for the classroom”, he looked confused and replied, “But, Miss, I was using English.”

The teacher laughed. The students joined in (although not sure why). The teacher used the opportunity to explain “good” and “bad” slang words in English.

I was walking past a classroom and glanced in. I saw a student with his head down, fast asleep. I walked in and immediately became the focus of the whole class. I heard one student whisper, “Uh, Oh!” They were certain I was about to chew on the Sleeping Beauty. They were surprised when I asked the teacher for a Post-It Note.

The class stared intently as I wrote a note, walked over and ever-so-gently took the paper, pen, and textbook off the sleeping student’s desk and left the note stuck to the desktop. I then walked out of the room with all of the Snoozer’s belongings.

Eventually the student woke up and when he was able to focus on my note, he read, “Good Morning, I have your things in my office. Come get them at your convenience. Mr. Farr.”

He walked into my office, I smiled and said good morning, pointed to his things and….then we laughed. He gathered his things and as he walked out of my office he said, “Thank you, Mr. Farr, it won’t happen again.”

And then there was Bill. A six foot four student athlete, solid macho man. He had a little problem with attendance. I told him I needed to see a note from his doctor the next time he missed school. A couple of weeks later he was absent. But he did bring me a doctor’s note.

I looked at it, looked up at Bill and asked, “This is your doctor?”

“Yessir,” replied Bill.

“So what was wrong with you?” I asked.

“That’s kinda personal,” he answered.

“I’m sure it is.” I said. After a pause, I asked, “Bill, why are you lying to me?”


“Bill, this doctor is a gynecologist.” I said.


(Bill’s girlfriend, believing she was keeping him out of trouble, had “borrowed” a pad of excuses from her doctor and gave one to him.) After we shared a true TEACHABLE MOMENT and I explained to Bill what a gynecologist is, he suddenly “got it” and guess what? We laughed. Oh my, did we laugh!

There are reams and reams of research articles on using humor to redirect or reinforce student behaviors. And I only bring this up because I’ve noticed a disturbing trend…especially among younger, newer teachers. It’s like someone somewhere sent out a memo declaring that fun is not allowed in school anymore.

I could have written a very scholarly-sounding, well-researched post on this subject. But wouldn’t that have been the hard way to make my point? Not to mention boring…

I’m calling on all administrators to remind their teachers:


Views: 181

Replies to This Discussion

OMG Great stuff and right on the money. Children of poverty are especially immune to threats and come out fighting. Are we inviting learners to a playground or a prison> Thanks for these stories Greg!
Amen! I was reading the story I was thinking my comment was going to be a simple Amen...but Terry beat me to it. I am just about to finish my sixth year thesis was on Humor's Impact in the Classroom...there is just starting to be some "scientific" evidence that certain types and uses of humor does in fact improve student achievement.
LOVE it!! Here is one of my favorite comics. It's from (not kid friendly site) This pic is actually set as the desktop for my computer at work. It reminds me that school does not have to be a chore. Laughter is so helpful!



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