Have Fun! | Hooray for Monday

February 21, 2022

By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President, Center for Inspired Teaching

Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students. 

We are all responsible adults.

And as such, there are many voices (including those inside our own heads) reminding us of the list of things we need to be doing: preparing our lessons, grading papers, cleaning our bathrooms, taking care of the people who need us, reading the latest research, and other productive activities we feel we can and should engage in any time we have unstructured time.

And it’s true, as adults and as educators we have many responsibilities; we should take them seriously, and we should use our time with focus and intention.

However, too often that long list of things we need to do doesn’t include fun. Fun can feel frivolous, self-indulgent, or downright unnecessary. Fun might not make it onto our to-do lists at all.

But according to William Glasser, the psychologist whose work I’ve been writing about these past few weeks, fun is a basic human need. And as I wrote a while back, fun and laughter can be healing.

Fun: “I want to do something that makes me feel relaxed, that brings me pleasure – just because it feels good!”

Fun is engaging in an activity, with or without a goal in mind, because you enjoy doing it. To know if you’re having fun (because some of us may need a refresher), take a moment to notice how you feel when you’re doing an activity, or thinking about doing it. Are you smiling, feeling joyful or relaxed, laughing, losing track of time? That’s fun!

Where is this need in your life right now according to this spectrum?

How is the need for fun being met in your life right now?

What changes might be necessary in order for your need for fun to be better met?

You can explore an interactive version of these questions on our ABCDE website.

Engagement and fun often go together, but they aren’t synonyms. We strive to make learning engaging for our students and ourselves all the time. But that doesn’t mean learning should be fun all the time. You can be deeply engaged in solving a challenging math problem, analyzing a difficult period of history, building a complicated miniature bridge, or creating an intricate painting. You may care a lot about the work you’re doing, and be totally committed to it, but not having fun – at least not the whole time you’re working on it.

So in addition to striving to meet your needs for Autonomy, Belonging, Competence, Developmental Appropriateness, and Engagement, I hope you’ll give yourself, and your students, permission to have some Fun. It’s the responsible thing to do.😀

September Inspired Teaching Institute

Teachers can’t control what happens between the time students wake up and when they arrive at school but they have a lot of control over what happens when students cross the classroom threshold. Participants in this fast-paced, idea-rich Institute will learn 20 different strategies for starting the school day!