We laugh a lot at Diegueño, students and teachers together. We laugh at jogging zombies and bubble blowing math teachers, at Kahoot review contests and improv scenes in theater. I’ve seen students laugh when ASB puts on lunch events, and teachers join them when colleagues were willing to join in the fun.
I heard once that one of the measures of success in a commercial laboratory was how often scientists laughed. Laughter, I remember hearing, meant that something unexpected and good had just happened, two hallmarks of invention.
Sometimes the best learning is accompanied by a smile, as students work together, struggle with something unknown, and discover an answer they hadn’t known before. I’ve heard Diegueño students laugh out loud at the end of a successful presentation, at the turning point of a lab in science, and as they researched a history project together and something innovative popped up on the shared document they were working on on their Chromebooks. I’ve seen laughter punctuate a lesson in Spanish class and precede the mega-run in PE.
Parents laugh too. At our recent Family Math Night students sat with their moms and dads and as they graphed the number of bubble gum bubbles blown in a minute and wrestled with polynomials they laughed together.
Some of the best laughter I hear is on the occasions I’m with parents and we can relax together in the eye of a middle school hurricane knowing that the kids are okay and that we’re partners in this enterprise.
Middle school can be a stressful time for everyone, students are experiencing the sometimes dizzying transition from elementary school to high school, parents are watching their kids change and grow before their eyes, and even those of us who make education our lives witness the world around us change in sometimes disorientating ways.
And all will be well.
At my first staff meeting I told my teachers that I was optimistic about the year not because I thought we would have ten months without challenge, but because I knew that together we were up to any challenge we would face. I meant it.
When we’re feeling pressure, when we’re facing something unexpected or new, it helps to be able to look around and can see that we’re not in this alone. And as we do, one of the best things we can do is appreciate the good around us, give thanks for the people who share our lives …and laugh together.