Avoid Burnout: 10 Ways to Add Fun to Your Teaching
Find a place inside where there’s joy,
and the joy will burn out the pain. Joseph Campbell
Often, this is the time of the year where both teachers and students begin to get restless, tired of winter, and in need of a change. In January I came across an article, 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout by Ben Johnson. The first step was to have fun with your students.
In a study I did with my two colleagues, we surveyed middle school kids to see what they had to say about good teaching. And, one thing they wanted was fun (Fontanini, Neiman, & Carpenter, 2014). I think this is a great place to start to avoid burnout, but how do you do it? Here are 10 ways to add a little fun to your teaching.
- Play music as students are coming into your classroom. Ask students how that music or song is connected to the content or topic. You might be surprised at what your students might say.
- Show a video clip to start off your lesson. Youtube is an easy place to find a video clip on practically any topic.
- Do a read-aloud. Pick a picture book, poem, short story, or novel you love and start reading it aloud to your students before your lesson starts or use it as a closing activity.
- Do a community/team building activity, one you have used in the past or a new one.
- Stand at the door and greet each student formally.
- Rearrange your classroom into a new pattern.
- Play a game that connects to your topic.
- Tell a joke or funny story.
- Start class with a brain-teaser or trivia question connected to the topic.
- Come dressed as a character, scientist, historical figure, or just something a bit outrageous. (When I was team teaching with a social studies teacher, he had a rental tuxedo that wasn’t due back until Tuesday—he wore it all day on Monday. Definitely got students’ attention!)
Not only will your students appreciate the change in pace, you will too! Novelty catches attention, teachers and students. As my colleagues and I create teacher materials for Teachers Pay Teachers, we remember that students want learning to be fun. Fun to students equates to engaging. We think, and many of our buyers agree, that our products are engaging to students and easy to implement for teachers. Check out our store on TPT: Surviving to Thriving LjL. Let us know what you do to add a little fun to your classroom.
Fontanini, J.J., Neiman, L.V., & Carpenter, L.L. (April 2014). Ask the Real Experts About Good Teaching. AMLE Magazine, 1(8), pp. 24-26.
Johnson, Ben. (April 22, 2014). 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Edutopia.