The Day I Didn’t Get The Joke

Instead of getting the joke – I gave a Long Form.  Here’s what the student wrote.


Daniel (not his real name) asked for a Short Form, so I gave him a Long Form.  I should have laughed it off because it was not actually a problem.  Not every behavior is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

I did not get the joke because at the time Daniel and I were experiencing two different classrooms:  I was experiencing one where a student was challenging my authority and disrespecting me.  Daniel was experiencing one where he was making a light-hearted joke to a favorite teacher.  Both realities cannot be true at the same time.  I do not know for him, but my perception was altered by the fact that I was still frustrated by the actions of another student a few minutes prior.  I was upset and probably waiting for a student to do anything that would allow me to show my authority.

A class has a certain vibe that you just have to feel in order to make good discipline decisions.   You have to know when to act, when to laugh, when to give a referral, when to give a Short Form, or when to let it slide.  It sounds like a daunting task but it’s not – at least it’s not if you don’t overthink it.  Basically you just need to be in a good mood and you’ll make good decisions.

In teaching there are moments when you have to laugh.  There are moments when you have to get the joke.

6 responses to “The Day I Didn’t Get The Joke

  1. Pingback: Looking For Our Classrooms | mrmillermath

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