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Don’t laugh - You did that too!

By Rebecca Thomas

Teacher Only Day, Friday, Term 2, week 5

Task: Bring primary and secondary staff together to discuss Assessment For Learning process as PLD comes to a close.

Scene: Exhausted teachers. Report writing looming. Friday afternoon. Challenging week with behaviour in school. NCEA changes for secondary teams.

Diagnosis: Good luck PLD facilitator keeping them engaged.

In order to set the tone for the day, any ice-breaker had to be one where the teachers could feel united. Maybe an ice-breaker activity wasn’t necessary this time - it’s Friday after all? Maybe I could launch straight into the fray with an AFL Rubric activity -hmm... maybe not?

Clutching superheroes this time was out of the question, what we all needed was a jolly good reason to laugh. Surely, the best subject we can laugh at (apart from having a TOD all day on a Friday) was to laugh at ourselves.

How many of us daily have crazy things that happen to us, but we never get time to share the story?

I wonder how many of us have disguised the sound of a fart in a room full of students.

I wonder how many of us have drawn something slightly rude on a whiteboard whilst drawing a diagram.

I wonder how many of us have strung out a lesson as home time approaches.

‘I did that, don’t laugh - so did you’ Bingo Game

Surely those moments are funny, surely those moments will raise a smile and help us feel human. But who would willingly share this information? How would we even begin that conversation? What relevance does it have with AFL?

Out came the ‘I did that, don’t laugh so did you,’ game - perfect. This is a type of bingo game for educators. The game requires you to collect points for the many shared amazing moments we go through in our teaching day/week/term - and points mean prizes. Genius! We know how much teachers love collecting points in Kahoot.

30 minutes into the day and the atmosphere was hysterical. Barriers down, truths out there. The stories the teachers (and the principal) shared amongst each other that morning were golden. To respect their privacy they will remain my own magical observations. But, I feel the need to share the impact of what a little laughter and joy can bring with colleagues.

These colourful pictures and made up words gave us a reason to stop feeling lonely. Our experiences connected us, despite the varied subjects taught, the varied students we teach, the varied professional learning experiences - in that moment we were united, untied in our giggles.

The rest of the AFL PLD went with optimistic and enthusiastic gusto. Teachers were re-energized.

As we look upon the insurmountable hoops we need to jump through, the reports to complete, the relievers to find, the changes ahead, look to your left and right and spend five minutes sharing your funny moments, the magic moments with your colleagues - spread some joy.

You don’t stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing.
-Maurice Chevalier

(The tool/bingo game we used in the staff meeting was called ‘I did that, don’t laugh - so did you’ and can it be purchased for $3.00 here)

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