Things I Know 85 of 365: It’s time to share the funny

A joke is a very serious thing.

– Winston Churchill

It’s difficult to be funny in China. I know, right? All those people, and you’d think it would be easier for a viral case of the giggles. Evidently not.

I’m a little worried the same may be true for the teaching profession.

A few days ago, I wrote about a faculty volleyball game at SLA. The comments I received about the post both on and offline led me to wonder and worry a little that educators aren’t bringing the funny as much as they should.

We have to laugh.

In my second year of teaching, the middle school team I taught on had lunch together once a week in our team prep room. Every once in a while, we would order Chinese food.

The kid of the team, I imparted some cultural wisdom to my colleagues as we finished our meal one day.

“You know how to read your fortune, right?” I said.

Everyone looked at me.

“You read it aloud and you add ‘in bed’ to the end.”

Everyone on the team saw me as young and impetuous. If they didn’t see me as their son, they saw me as their little brother. I was to be humored.

One teacher on our team was all business. She was there to teach and the children were there to learn. Anything else during class time was to be corrected. What’s more, the rest of the teachers and I knew very little about her. “Touchy feely” was certainly not a phrase we used to describe her.

We began to open our fortune cookies. I was trepidacious as we grew nearer and nearer her turn.

Finally, the moment arrived.

“You will be lucky in many things.”


Such a buzzkill.

Two second later.

“…in bed.”

And we were ruined. For 5 minutes, this stoic pillar of order and reason laughed uncontrollably, her face beet red. And we all joined in.

It was a rare moment of total levity.

We needed it.

In rest of my time on that team, every once in a while, I’d pass a colleague and have to stifle a giggle as they whispered “…in bed.”

Whether it’s the jokes section of Reader’s Digest or the Onion News Network, funny must be injected into the day if your’e going to make it in teaching and be able to relate to people in any kind of way that makes them want to relate to you.

So here’s my question – Where’s your funny? I’m serious. Where do you look for the humor during your day. Is it a book or a website?

We can and do share our daily trials. We share how our students make us proud. We share frustrations with our administrations and the newest tools we’ve found. Take a moment, today, and share the funny.

I’ll start it off.

8 thoughts on “Things I Know 85 of 365: It’s time to share the funny

  1. I would now like to share with you one of my favorite McSweeney's lists (I'm bringing the funny):How Are We Going to Get These Dogs Back In?Bust an Additional MoveSeriously, Eileen, Come On(Won't You Give Me a Ride Home From) Funkytown?Remember When You Lit Up My Life? That Was GreatI Will Now Pass the Dutchie Back to You and Thank You for Passing It to Me Originally Because I Really Enjoyed the DutchieThe Morning That the Lights Came Back On in GeorgiaEverybody Was Kung Fu Making UpAchier Breakier HeartWhoomp! There It Continues to Be [**this one is the best]867-5309 extension 2We Never Took It and Persist in Our Refusal to Take It

  2. Our grade school counselor (who is nearing retirement and usually lags about five minutes behind the conversation) once said at the lunch table, completely seriously, “When I was in school, I had sex…(two second pause)….education.” No one laughed at the table, but there was a flurry of email later. I'm lucky to work with people who see the humor in teaching.

  3. Hello, My name is Shaska Crabtree and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Stranges EDM310 class. I thought this post was great. I think it is so important to have fun and share your moments especially as teachers. If we can not be fun and interesting around our peers chances are that we are not that way in the classroom as well. I think being fun also helps prevent possibly becoming burnt out. Where I personally look for funny is everywhere. I look at things that people do or say, what signs might say, or simply just a thought that pops into my head. I hope you continue on finding your funny moments in life. You can read a summary of these posting on my blog page. Thank you for your time.

  4. I have a student in my first period who is seriously hilarious. One of those kids who will be a real comedian someday. He almost always brightens my day. Our school newspaper also has a 'Kids in the Hall' section with ridiculous responses to random questions. Love it.

  5. I don't know if teachers aren't finding the funny, but I would guess it is rare we are doing so together. The beauty of both your stories (volleyball and fortunes) is the togetherness, the shared joy. I can find funny on my own quite a bit (my students, graphjam, dooce, white whine, unhappy hipsters) but finding it together is so much more powerful.

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