Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Looking Silly

Today I read Teacher Tom's archived post I'm an Idiot. As always, it triggered my thinking.

I thought about all the times I did something silly in a class of kids...and didn't even think about it. I may say silly rhymes or ponder what one of the kids would look like with my beard or make a mistake about how to do something. I may tell or laugh at incomprehensible knock-knock jokes. I may sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" until I'm breathless and red in the face.

And not even care about it. Until another adult is watching. (Well, not my fellow teachers. I know they understand.)

Then all of a sudden I get self-conscious. I think how it must look for a grown man to wiggle and giggle and freeze to music. I recently had this experience one week at church.

My group of kindergartners had to travel through the building. I had 15 5-year-olds trailing behind me (and in front of Mrs. Cindy) as we walked down the halls, rounded corners and maneuvered all the jags of an older building. Then we had to walk through the large empty gym (and keep some kind of order).

As we entered the gym, I said to the kids closest to me, "I wonder if we can walk and balance on this black line." I stepped on the line and stuck out my arms like a tightrope walker. I moved down the line, wobbling my arms back and forth to keep balance. Kids fell in behind me as we moved along the line.

Then it happened. A class of parents was meeting in a room off the gym. And the door was open. And the class was facing the door. I walked by a group of adults, wobbling and balancing on the line. "Oh, no," I first thought. "What will those adults think of me?" A few parents of my kids were in the classroom. Then I thought, "I hope they are glad their kids have a silly adult as a teacher." And then my thoughts were immediately back to the kids. (I usually know what the kids think of me!)

When I was younger, I would often try to censor that silliness when around other adults, tone it down to make it more palatable for adult consumption. Now, not so much. Oh, I don't break into "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" in line at the grocery store or tell odd knock-knock jokes to folks at the office. (Well, not often.) But I don't worry about looking silly. After all, I'm a preschool/kindergarten teacher. Silly is part of what I do.


  1. I reckon those parents would have been as proud-as-punch ... and a little jealous to see you mucking around and having uninhibited fun with those children Scott. One of the beauties of working with children is you can get away with just about anything silly or idiotic ... and it's true we do!
    Donna :) :)

  2. I think it is one of the best things about working with children. I mean, seriously, what is it about us (humans as a whole) that we get all bent out of shape, loose our ability to really just kick back and have fun, and be creative. I think we would all be a little bit better off if we were all able to just "be" :). Way to go Scott!

  3. I can't believe you don't break out and sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" in line at the grocery store! Come on Scott - lighten up! LOL!! Actually - I am great at being silly with the kids but in front of adults, I tend to go into reserve. It's funny how that just can't be helped at times.

  4. I see it as a big problem in our society that as adults we forget to play or think it's only for children.
    I feel privileged to be a teacher and play everyday.
    We need to be the models for the rest of them:)

  5. I think that's why I hang around kids instead of adults most of the time. I like to play and just be silly. And sometimes it even leaks over into my interactions with adults.

  6. I love it! I work with preschoolers and we cut up ALL THE TIME!! Keep up the good work, our kids need humor and they need YOU! :)

  7. Discovered your blog thanks to a link from Sherry & Donna.

    Forget about the adults I say. I use to worry about what people thought of me, but since I've been working with young children I've discovered I act more carefree & like myself (silly, rediculous, strange & many other similar adjectives) in most situations whether I am around children, adults or a mixture. It doesn't seem to matter the age of the children either. My antics go down a treat with my 2 year olds at work as well as my bunch of 12 year olds I coach/manage at the local little athletics club.

    Kudos to you & it's always refreshing to hear about other guys in the EC field.

  8. As you know, I work in a cooperative, Scott. It took me a couple years to be able to look one of my parent-teachers in the eye during circle time! =)