“Wooohoooo! That’s Right! Today we’re gonna compare Vladimir Lenin to Leoooooon Trooooootsky! Yeaaaaah!” I screamed as I jumped up and down, did a high kick, and clapped my hands.
I mean, really. How else is one supposed to get their student energized after a lunch of potato pancakes?
“Alright class, let’s open our textbooks to page 119 and discuss the similarities between the two Bolshevik leaders, Lenin and Trotsky.” WRONG!
Somehow, I think this kind of calm intro to a lesson would not be enough to snap my ninth graders out of their carbohydrate-induced coma.
Recently an alumni, and successful lawyer, wrote to me on Facebook stating that she loved reading my blog. She was so thankful for all that we taught her about writing at Wenatchee High School, but….
Why have I not done a post on dance moves in the classroom?
You see, I’m known for my moves.
I do high kicks to punctuate a lesson. When a student fires off a complaint about homework, I try to lean back in slow-mo as if I’m Keanu Reeves dodging bullets in the Matrix. When giving instructions, and I know my students have all checked out and are no longer paying attention, I do a little tap dance to imaginary music. When they start to laugh, I know I have an attentive audience again. And if you spend enough time in my classroom, you might even get to hear me rap AND dance. When a student tries to check their phone in class I’ll bust out with, “Put it way, put it away, put it away now!”
When I’m stressed out in my office grading essays, I have been known to throw dance parties. Imagine will you, 6 teachers in professional dress, spinning and swaying to the music, and screeching out “I’m every woman” at the top of their lungs.
Or picture two middle-aged women perfectly reenacting Back Street’s Everybody, right there in the hallway for all their students to see. (In our minds, we looked just like this!)
Sometimes you just have to cut loose. You have to release the tension and the strain. Whether it is at the start of a lesson that has potential to be dry and difficult, or right after a difficult staff meeting, you have to kick up your heals and show your enthusiasm for life.
You have to make a fool of yourself sometimes, disarm your students and colleagues, and get them to smile.
You see, sometimes you just gotta dance.