The Funny Thing About Teachers

On the 27th of July 2017 just when everybody was getting themselves ready for a well-earned holiday break from school there was a survey published in the Times Educational Supplement about what students thought that made a great teacher?

For students in Primary schools number 1 in the survey is that they wanted a teacher who was Funny.

Great teachers: Top 10 Characteristics as judged by Primary school students  

  1. Funny
  2. Helpful/supportive
  3. Good Listener
  4. Friendly
  5. Fair
  6. Approachable
  7. Kind
  8. Passionate
  9. Inspiring
  10. Knowledgeable

TES 27.7.17

It should not come as a complete surprise that being viewed as Funny was also top of the secondary school student chart.

Great teachers: Top 10 Characteristics as judged by Secondary school students   

  1. Funny
  2. Fair
  3. Understanding
  4. Helpful/supportive
  5. Good Listener
  6. Inspiring
  7. Knowledgeable
  8. Patient
  9. Passionate
  10. Fun

TES 27.7.17

What is going on here? teachers are not supposed to be entertainers and learning should not be funny.
Of course it should. How otherwise are you supposed engage 30 younger people on a regular basis unless you can create a positive learning mood that is both proactive and on occasions everyone can have a good laugh?

In my previous role as a Head teacher when I interviewed new students who were applying to join our school I would always ask them who was their favourite teacher and why?  The comments were always the same and to summarise they would say “that he/she could control the class, they didn’t have favourites and you could have a laugh with them”. In other words they were Firm, Fair and Funny.

Alongside these “3Fs” I would add a  4th F which would be Flexible however it is clear that when students feel safe and secure and have a teacher who is consistent and can make learning fun you will get the best out of your students.  This does not mean that learning is not a serious business and that every student will always appreciate you or your style of teaching. However, no matter when or what you are teaching and despite the pressures of examinations or Ofsted, it remains vital for your students to enjoy being in your class.  This will be the key to building positive rapport, respect and relationships.

In addition your students will sense whether or not you like what you are doing and whether you like being with them. What better example can you provide them with than to be seen to be enjoying your job and the people that you work with?

So as you begin to ready yourself for a new year and to consider the new timetable and the challenges that lie ahead, also look forward to having some fun this term.

By the way………..“A horse goes into a pub and man says, why the long face”……..boom boom!