For the last month or so I have been in an educational slump. While my passion and energy for education have not diminished, my joy has. Perhaps it is increased hours working, the middle of the year blues, or intensified expectations via the teacher evaluation system. Whatever the cause, I have found that I am not smiling as much as in previous years. As this pressure in the teaching profession increases, my ability to relax and “enjoy the journey” has decreased.
This hit me when this morning, on my routine Twitter check, Erika Nielsen Andrew (@thenewready) posted a photo of her leading a Teaching Channel professional development session where the attendees were throwing around a beach ball in an ice breaker.
It suddenly dawned on me. While I have been so enthralled with quality math instruction and refining my teaching practices, somewhere along the way I have eliminated a lot of fun from my day. My energy, which is usually bouncing off the walls, has been muted momentarily. If I don’t intentionally plan fun into my schedule, I get overly serious and uptight causing undo stress. Thus, I have decided that I must regain my smile and hear myself laugh… DAILY.
At first I thought that perhaps an intense focus on learning and fun were exclusive of one another and could not overlap. But, I remembered taking AP Calculus my senior year of high school. Arguably the hardest class I have ever taken, I belly laughed daily. And… I think it was from the tone the teacher set. The rituals and routines, the funny sayings, the way we knew we could joke with the teacher yet respect him the second he started the lesson. How can I balance high expectations, rigorous academic course work and FUN?
For this, I need your ideas?
I want to focus my sense of FUN in two different areas: staff Meetings/professional development sessions and lessons with students.
What do you do with your staff that makes you laugh? How does your school celebrate fun? How do your professional development sessions prioritize fun as an essential success criteria?
I love belly laughing. With your help… maybe I can get a few others belly laughing alongside me too!