Don't Smile 'Til December? Humor in the Classroom
Lesson Objective: Classroom management is important, but don't forget to be yourself
All Grades / All Subjects / Class Culture

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Cohen use humor to quickly diffuse a situation?
  2. How does humor complement Ms. Cohen's instruction rather than interrupt it?
  3. How could you use humor to enhance your classroom -- keep it natural and consistent with your personality?
I agree completely.
Recommended (0)
Humor is essential. The "don't smile before December" crowd doesn't get it. I want my kids going home after the first day saying, "Wow! My teacher is the best!! He's so fun!" This way, when a student goes home and complains about how hard you are, or how mean you are, or something negative like that, the parent naturally defends you rather than calling the superintendent. It's all about first impressions and selling your program to the kids and parents right off the bat. You'll save yourself a lot of stress and time later in the year.
Recommended (2)
As a first year teacher, I was told to be very strict, then lighten up after Christmas. My personality does not correspond with this thinking. Teaching 1st grade - you need to be able to laugh with the kids, have fun and still be in charge. It is a fine line - as I have found out. Sometimes I notice my students getting too relaxed and not "paying attention to the teacher" in the room. As I go back for the second semester, I am implementing centers, and new sets of rules for them, so I should be alright finishing out the year. The only thing I would change, is to be a little less "personal", yet just as much fun!
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I enjoy watching the video on 'attention getting signals.' I will try this tactic in my classroom.
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I've been told that I smile too much. Smiling is vital part of my identity!
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  • 05:30: GALEET COHEN: The role of humor in the classroom is essential because kid are funny, and you have to spend

    05:30: GALEET COHEN: The role of humor in the classroom is essential because kid are funny, and you have to spend at least six hours a day in your classroom with them, so you should be having a good time.
    05:43: GALEET COHEN [in class]: PS, there’s no TCE in this lab. You’re not getting cancer. Just so you know. It’s low stakes.
    STUDENT 2: But I really like carcinogens.
    STUDENTS: [Laughter]
    GALEET COHEN [in class]: So [laughs], you get them everywhere, you don’t need to get them here. So.
    05:57: GALEET COHEN: It helps to diffuse a situation with a joke to let a student know that you see something or that you know something, and not instantly respond with detention. I don’t have rules posted in my room or consequences posted in my room because if you do that, you are stuck going down this stated line of rules and consequences, and if instead you address a situation with humor, most of the time a student is just testing you and wants to know if see what’s going on.
    06:24: GALEET COHEN [in class]: Double click. Again. Worst double-clicker ever. Can I try?
    STUDENT 3: Yeah.
    GALEET COHEN [in class]: Maybe it just –
    STUDENT 3: See, it doesn’t listen to me.
    GALEET COHEN [in class]: Oh, it’s okay, it’s fine.
    06:34: GALEET COHEN: If you play with them, they’ll play with you, and it’s the only way to get them to unravel enough to let them know – let you know what’s going on in their lives, and that’s the most important thing you can do.

School Details

Central High School
1700 West Olney Ave
Philadelphia PA 19141
Population: 2227

Data Provided By:



Galeet Cohen
Science / 9 11 12 / Teacher



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture