Things I Know 31 of 365: Silliness is golden

I love to laugh.

– Uncle Albert, Mary Poppins

You know what made Captain Kirk great?

Not the countless rescues of the planet(s) cum galaxies cum universe((s)?).

Not his rainbow of romantic conquests.


James Tiberius Kirk was great because he could have fun. The guy heeded Mary Poppins’s advice, and took a spoonful of sugar on each mission.

Almost every episode ended with Jim, Bones and Spock on the bridge ribbing each other as though they’d forgotten thwarting death once again.

Lately, it strikes me the fun is neglected more often than not when we talk about teaching.

I’m not talking learning.

I’m talking teaching.

It’s fun.


My best days in the classroom are those in which I do one hundred silly things before lunch. If I’ve taken my work seriously, but not myself, I’ve done alright.

I don’t get the feeling programs like KIPP put too much stock in silly.

That might be the real danger.

If we’re truly facing some of the most complex challenges of the modern or any era, building classrooms of Borg is not the answer.

Success should include an element of silly.

Saturday, Diana, Ros and I led a session at EduCon on interdisciplinarity. The ideas were flying, and nearly 50 educators from all over the country joined us.

We spoke of supports and obstacles. We shared resources and we networked. We deliberated on the existence of common ground between scripted and project-based curricula. Many pieces of the conversation challenged my thinking.

The most tweeted moment from the session?

A joke I made.

No profession should ever be this starved for funny.

Yes, times are hard. Yes, the policy debate looks like it was designed on the island of Dr. Moreau. Yes, budgets are drying up faster than Cuba Gooding Jr.’s career.

And, we’ll get all of that sorted out.

First and always, let’s have a little levity.

It will save us.

When Mike Myers faced off with James Lipton on Inside the Actor’s Studio, Myers commented on the most important lessons he’d learned while growing up poor.

His parents taught him the value of free fun and of silly.

I’ll buy that.

When I hear about the incredibly high burnout rates of new teachers, I cannot help but think their professors taught them how to teach, but not how to have fun doing it.

And, it’s too much work not to have fun doing it.

I love teaching because teaching the whole child requires me to be my whole self. Every day, I access my passion for learning and asking questions – all the while looking for the funny.

Seriousness of mission and purpose need not mean seriousness in execution.

7 thoughts on “Things I Know 31 of 365: Silliness is golden

  1. Great post Zac. There's so much beauty in levity and silly. I love that you referenced Mike Myers. I used to have this quote by Mike Myers in my classroom. “Silly is you in a natural state, and serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again.”

    • Thanks.
      That's a great quotation. I like knowing that you'd be the type of teacher
      who wouldn't have that sign hanging over his head whilst barking at students
      to take class seriously.

  2. When you make a book of these posts, I'll have this page turned down, maybe with a big fat neon sticky note attached. And as always, substitute “parent” and “parenting” for “teacher” and “teaching” and it still holds true. And I still need more of it as a parent. (-:

  3. If only you could have gotten Dr. Dettman to do a little dancing in the office 0:) I watched Educon through streaming this weekend, and became so passionate about the fact that I do believe that we may able to win this battle against what kind of education our kids in this country truly deserve. Love you for always pushing me to see things a little differently.

  4. I couldn't agree more. I try to have my silly moments each day. It lets my little brain detox of all the “have-tos” I try to remember as a teacher. I teach 5th grade, so at times the silliness is just a normal part of most moments. Today for example we were rocking the blogs and I began to rap, “Ain't no blog like the Mustang blog cuz the Mustang blog don't stop, wha wha!” We had a riot of laughter after a few primo rhymes from MixMasterMacdonald. They needed it. Too bad we didn't have a camera handy 😉

  5. Pingback: Things I Know 365 of 365: Everything has(n’t) changed at Autodizactic

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