It's OK to laugh.
And it's OK to be silly.
As adults, we become so caught up in the stress of our everyday responsibilities that we forget how to just relax; we fail to embrace the idea of playfulness. I am not referring to adult partying here. I am talking about the purity of silliness and interaction just for the sake of having joyful experiences with one another. My students have taught me that when I allow myself to let go, I am able to engage with them on yet another level.
In Kim Bearden's Crash Course, she writes about learning how to play with her students. She learned that all of the moments within the four walls of a classroom do not have to be moments of drama and serious study.
[C]hildren need both structure and play. Sometimes it is the spontaneous, silly moments that really matter to children. I would argue that my students and I are even better equipped to learn together because we know how to play together. The bond that we form when we play enables the joy to translate to education.
It's part of my job to relate to my students and foster a rich relationship with them. It should be a relationship of respect. But at the same time, my students need to see another side of me - not just a man full of various aspects of academia. They need to see me kick a ball on the playground, or hula hoop on the Wii, or make a reference to Peppa Pig.
But they also need to know when it is appropriate to make silly comments and when it is not. There is a line.
They must be taught the difference between teasing and bullying. There is a line.
They need to understand the appropriate times to dance and celebrate and when we need to be quietly listen.
'Turns out, there are lines all over the place!
But that's OK. It's a piece of the puzzle that we don't often consider: playing with students, relating to them on a different level. Getting out from behind the teacher's desk. Getting out from in front of the SMART Board. Play: it's another tool in the teacher's belt.