Two days ago a math teacher and author from New York Jose Vilson posted a video of himself dancing in class with a great Christmas sweater. I liked it, not thinking much of it and continued to scroll. Unsurprisingly, Jose's video was retweeted by other people I follow so I got to smile again every time it came up:
I was surprised however, when I started noticing that not only were people retweeting the video but also including remarks of defense and support. I had to follow a few threads to figure out why Jose even needed to be defended. (Hint: he shouldn't have to be) There had been comments about Jose's dance being "unprofessional" but they weren't so nice about it, in fact they were downright racist about it.When you’re a teacher about an hour away from vacay and take off the professionalism for a minute pic.twitter.com/6AYlvfDznP— José Luis Vilson, NBCT (@TheJLV) December 22, 2017
On one hand, 2017 can't shock me much more but on the other, he was just dancing! He is a great teacher and activist, published author, etc. but that doesn't mean he's not human. Teachers are human. We are not robots, we are people. The whole thing got me thinking of all the times I've been "unprofessional" in front of my students. Its quite a list:Keep America Racist Forever. https://t.co/rxs6oz2YU6— José Luis Vilson, NBCT (@TheJLV) December 23, 2017
- Teach students to do the "Superman" yoga pose and worn two back packs at a time while teaching center of mass and stability.
- Literally kicked off my heels to run across my classroom and try to race the stadium wave my students make across the classroom while teaching, duh, waves.
- Spun around like a ballerina/ figure skater to remind them about conservation of angular momentum.
- Spun and leaped in a circle to reinforce the difference between rotation and revolution.
- Stood on lab benches to drop/ throw/ launch a variety of projectiles.
- Channel my inner drill sergeant and lead the class in force exercises; I say "A Force is a what?" and they respond "A push!" I say "And a what?" and they shout back "A pull!"
There are probably more that I've forgotten. As many other teachers have I also frequently share jokes and puns about my curriculum. Students' suspicions are correct, teachers do actually plan some of those jokes. I have a construction hat I've written the formula for work on and I wear it every year. This year I made a giant piece of buttered toast just to illustrate a tough textbook problem
Teachers often use humor to teach and engage their students. We've been known to use comic strips and Dan Burns even dresses up to look like the physics teacher in FoxTrot on occasion.