The mid-winter blues of February are surely glowing a deep shade of indigo this COVID winter. It can be a challenge to muster the requisite energy to teach, just as it for students to learn. So, this month we say, Lighten up! Take a break—a humour break—by cruising through a selection of amusing stories by students and teachers. They may do more than improve your mood. According to an expert quoted in Edutopia, humour can also improve student learning: “[there exists]…a growing literature on how humor reduces stress and tension in the classroom, improves retention of information, and promotes creative understanding.”

  • Hilarious kid stories shared by real teachers – Some are not for students’ ears, but you’ll likely relate to many of the stories Angela Watson shares in her book, “Hilarious Kid Stories—shared by Teachers.” In this column she previews some of the best, for example: “I teach kindergarten and when I was urging a student to get down to work, he looked up and me and said, ‘You do know that I didn’t sign up for this. My dad did it.’”
  • Teachers Share 23 Outrageous Things Students Have Actually SaidA few samples from Stacy Tornio, writing for “Weareteachers,” who asked her teacher friends on Facebook to share their funniest student stories. A sample: “Oh I can’t wear my new glasses in your class because it’s math. The doctor said they are just for reading;”and, “While watching a Walking with Dinosaurs video, a student said to me, “Is this actual footage?”
  • These Hilarious Cartoons Showcase the Reality of Distance Learning at HomeWriting for, Melissa Mills shares a series of cartoons that capture some of the funny moments arising from parents helping out with students’ online learning. Although we can’t include the cartoon here, here are quotes from the word balloons of a sample cartoon that demonstrate the difference between teaching elementary students and high school students online.

Teacher: “OK, settle down, everyone!”
Students: “My dog is here!” “AM I ON MUTE?” “My chair fell over!” “Bananas!” “And here’s my room…” and “This is my Dad’s shoe.”

High school:
Teacher: “Can anyone say good morning? Anyone??”
Students: [blank faces]

  • 13 Funny Comics That Sum Up My Teaching Experience During This PandemicMore comics, this time from Bored Panda and someone named “Colm C.”, who says, “I am a primary school teacher from Galway, Ireland. By day, I have the fun task of educating the next generation of kids… by night… I’m an artist! All my comics are drawn the old-school way—with a pen, paper, and a lightbox.” His humour may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s likely big in Ireland.
  • 50 Strange Things Teachers SayTeacher sometimes find themselves saying weird stuff that makes sense only in the classroom. Teachers’ Lounge asked teachers from the US to tell us some of the things they have said to students. Some samples, “Stop eating your shoe!”; “Please don’t bring me presents from the toilet;” “Please put your pants back on;” “Ignore the dead bat in the corner.”
  • Using Humour in the ClassroomAnd, finally, some ideas on how to use humour in the classroom. Maurice Elias suggests nine strategies. Among them, laugh at yourself; have a “joke Friday;” ask students to bring in books they find funny; and ask students to use humour in their writing assignments. Quoting humour expert, Dunkelblau, “a growing literature on how humour reduces stress and tension in the classroom, improves retention of information, and promotes creative understanding.”

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