Comedy smooths conflict

Classroom tips for all

So, I'm visiting the primary school at Mahaut, and listening in on a young teacher with her class. It's a scorching hot day and despite her lively presentation style the pupils are slouching at their desks.

Young Teacher has two options:
1. Yell at them to sit up straight (expected result: grudging compliance, and the kids think she is a slave driver).
2. Give them a cheery suggestion of the "hey kids, let's all stand up and shake out the tiredness" variety (expected result: the kids do it, but roll their eyes, and think she is a dweeb).

Of course, like the young Tony Blair she finds a Third Way.

She gives a huge yawn, and cries "OH! I am SO tired!" Surprised, the kids all look up. "Oh! I can hardly stand," she continues. "I have to sit down!" As she staggers theatrically to a stool, the kids start to smile. The smiles turn to laughter as - bump! - her head hits the desk. And when the snoring starts, pure hysteria reigns (hey, they are seven years old). Then - another yawn, and she starts to stretch, to stand, to straighten up. Of course, the kids are right there with her - stretching, wide awake, and thoroughly impressed by their new teacher.

Good NLP, good psychology, good comedy, good job.

Or, as the kids on Dominica say, "Faaaan-tastic!"

PS Young Teacher is the lady jumping highest in this video. Her colleague on the right had just had a flood-bourne boulder take out her classroom. More on the blond lady and her work at

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