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John Eggers: School’s open, now the fun begins

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So these two elementary boys are sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch and one boy says, “I have to get my tonsils taken out next week.” The other boy says, “Oh, I had that done last year and I couldn’t eat anything for three days.” He continues, “I have to go to the doctor, too, next week to get circumcised.” The other boy replies, “I had that done when I was very young and I couldn’t walk for a year.”

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There are many reasons why it is fun to teach school and one of the bonuses of being a teacher is just listening to kids.

Q. Teacher: How do you spell Mississippi?

A. George: The state or the river?

Kids today have to be smarter than yesterday’s kids.

They are taking more difficult tests in reading and math with the hope they will pass the tests and avoid taking remedial work in college.

Again more pressure will be placed on teachers to ensure this happens.

I don’t see this trend changing. We have become a very competitive world.

For some time now our students have been compared with students in other countries and this won’t change.

When we become a smarter nation, we become a richer nation and that’s just the way it is.

There is one danger in all of this, could our students lose the joy of learning?

Q. What did the glue say to the teacher?

A. “I’m stuck on you.”

That’s a pretty lame riddle but it might get a few chuckles from kids.

I always tell students who take my classes that whatever you do, don’t drop out. During our time together, I’m sticking with you and you have to stick with me.

One way I try to do this is by making learning an enjoyable experience.

That is my number one goal in every class I teach at every level.

Q. Why was the music teacher not able to open his classroom?

A. Because his keys were on the piano.

Some of you undoubtedly think that the keys to learning should be making it rigorous and challenging.

Kids need to spend countless hours doing homework and writing term papers and making learning fun should not even be in the equation of what it is to be a good school or teacher.

Yes, learning should be rigorous and challenging and kids need to know how to spell “Mississippi.”

There is one question, however, I always have in the back of my teaching mind after they finish the class. “Will they come back for more?”

It’s kind of like offering a foreign language.

If we start out with 50 students in Spanish I and then go to 22 students in Spanish II and then 3 students in Spanish III, something isn’t quite right. If we are selling Spanish, a lot of customers aren’t buying it.

How do we get them to return for more? Life is to be enjoyed and that includes learning.

Part of that is just getting kids to smile and laugh.

Q. What happened when the teacher tied all the kids’ shoelaces together?

A. They had a class trip!

What do you remember about your school experience? I posed this question to my college public speaking students last Tuesday. Almost all said something that related to an extra curricular activity. Why? Because just like when you were in school, your best times occurred outside the classroom.

This is nothing against the classroom learning but it’s hard to compete against the emotion of scoring a touchdown, singing a solo, hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer or taking a field trip to Itasca.

Here is some advice for parents. We know that students who are involved in extra curricular activities are more likely to do better in school and stay in school.

Get your kids involved in the total school experience and school will become more enjoyable.

Q. What did the calculator say to the other calculator?

A. “You can count on me!”

You can’t have a fun class unless you do some fun things.

This could be listening to music, showing a video clip, making something, playing a fun game or telling a joke or riddle.

When you can tie this into what you are teaching, learning becomes fun and enjoyable.

Students need to count on teachers to make learning fun.

This is nothing new and teachers will be doing a lot of fun things on that opening day and throughout the school year.

I like to remind teachers that don’t do fun things just for the kids, do fun things for yourself as well. If you don’t laugh, your kids won’t either.

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Orange

Orange who?

Orange you glad it’s the first day of school?

That’s an old, old classic joke that has been around since “Knock Knock” jokes were created. It may have been the very first one.

Some of the tried and true things in education should not be forgotten like visiting with kids, eating with kids, laughing with kids, and, of course, learning with kids.

To take the advice of Red Green on the Red Green show, “Remember, we are all in this together.”

I don’t have to remind all of my readers that teaching is a tough job.

With our world changing so fast, schoolteachers carry more responsibility than ever before.

Next time you meet one, give him or her a pat on the back. Orange you glad we have them.

— JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

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