Tag Archives: humor in the classroom

Thank You Notes


thank you notesI love that section during the Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon writes his thank you notes.  If you’ve never seen it you don’t know what you’re missing.  Tune in on a Friday night and watch him.  I wish I knew how to add some tinkling piano music to my blog site to play in the background as I write my thank you notes to my blog readers and teacher friends.

Thank you…to my readers who put up with my absences to my blog site.  You make me realize what I always suspected of my high school students.  Sometimes you like it more when I just don’t say anything.  I can’t believe how loyal my readers have been even when I have been missing in action.

Thank you…to my blog site for making me feel guilty every day of my life.  When I can’t possibly think of one more thing to write about teaching, you are still there, lurking, nagging, proving to me why I was never able to run a marathon either.

Thank you…to the preschooler who called me Mr. Beasley all year long.  You taught me about the importance of  becoming gender neutral long before society became politically correct.  Is that what you were trying to teach me?

Thank you…high school students who yearned to sleep through my class every day.  You taught me how to handle rejection and keep on going.  I can now listen to politicians and the media list the  shortcomings of teachers and the educational system in America.  I return to the classroom and keep on teaching in spite of the negativity.  You turned me into one of those punching bag clowns that just keeps popping back up. for more punches.

Thank you…software and electronic boards that always malfunction with a classroom full of students and an administrator observing in the back of the room.  You taught me flexibility and gave me the ability to BS my way out of any crisis.

Thank you…duties.  I’m talking about cafeteria, hallway, parking lot and restroom duty.  You taught me just how little a Masters Degree is worth in American schools. You taught me that duties are nothing but doodie.   As a side benefit, you kept my advanced degrees from making me arrogant.

Thank you…copy machines that don’t work.  You forced me to remember the pungent aroma of ditto machines with fondness and nostalgia.  Because of you, I value my heritage.

Thank you…to the high school students who used to tell me my shoes didn’t match, my blouse label was showing, and I had bed head in the back.  Because of your diligence in pointing out my shortcomings I could save the money I would have otherwise have had to spend on a personal stylist.

Thank you…to my teen students who made me feel I had the talents of a stand up comedian.  I remember the time I described a fabric as seersucker and you laughed for five minutes.  Who knew I could be so entertaining?

Thank you…classroom cheaters.  Because of your ingenuity and the training you provided me, I could work for the secret service, homeland security or the IRS without listing anything but my high school teaching experience on my resume.

Thank you…emails from parents.  You kept me from gaining weight as I used my lunch hour and break times to reply to your requests.  You saved me the money I would have spent at Weight Watchers and I appreciate the savings.

Thank you…teen drivers who parked “illegally” in the teachers’ parking spaces in the school parking lot.  You gave me wet hair on rainy days, frost bite in the winter and fewer papers to grade at home during the windy season.

Thank you…to all the students who used cell phones in my classroom and thought I didn’t notice.  Let me just say it now. I always saw you!  You taught me how to keep from screaming at rude people who are annoying the heck out of me.  It was a valuable life lesson.  You’ll need that lesson when you become teachers and are standing in front of a bunch of rude kids on cell phones.  It will bite you in the butt.

Thank you…to the amazing number of former students who stay in contact with me through emails, invitations to lunch and kind notes.  You make me feel that my teaching was valued in spite of the daily evidence to the contrary.  You are the reason I still write a blog for teachers even when I run out of new ideas to share.  I want you to know that you are truly one of my life’s greatest blessings.

Thank You!

TEACH...To Change Lives

TEACH…To Change Lives 

Available autographed or in large quantities from the author:  dauna@cinci.rr.com

Also available at Amazon.com

Book Dauna Easley to speak to your group:  dauna@cinci.rr.com










Teaching Celebrations and Frustrations



What I learned from bloggingRecently while navigating through the pages that support my blog site, I stumbled upon a page full of statistics where I learned that…

…during the past 90 days my teacher blog

at DaunaEasley.com

has been read by people in 35 different countries! 

                                   I was amazed and humbled.

A person writing a teacher blog should probably never admit this; but some of those countries I had never even heard of.  (Thankfully I didn’t teach high school geography).

Sometimes it is a lonely commitment, to sit down at my desk in my home and type my heart out about the teaching profession I love.  You wonder if anyone will ever value (or even read) the words that you write.  Thank you loyal followers.  You make my efforts feel so worthwhile.  At 3:00 am (yes that is the current time when I’m writing this), it helps to know that my words are welcome in places around the world I will never have the opportunity to visit.  I am in awe.

Teaching Frustrations

frustrationsRecently while watching a young student teacher assign homework to a group of middle school students, I heard all the young teens groan.  What was their frustration?  Their homework was being assigned out of the textbook.  Their texts were huge and they didn’t want to carry the book home in their backpacks along with all their other texts.  The teacher gave a brief apology.  “We don’t have paper to use.  The budget is low.  We have to use our textbooks for homework. Sorry.”

I know when I start to describe this dilemma there will be people who won’t understand.  They’ll tell me that no child in Africa has a textbook and they would be honored to have one to use.  Other people will tell me about classrooms around the world where the entire class must share a pencil or scratch their calculations out with a stick in the sand.  Maybe, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have even brought this up when I have just bragged about 35 countries reading this blog.  Awkward moment.

However, can you imagine corporations in America telling their employees to market, design, and produce a product without using paper?  It is a ludicrous notion.  And yet it happens in our classrooms all the time.  Teachers are routinely asked to teach without supplies as basic as paper.  For decades I have listened to administrators beg and then threaten teachers not to use paper or copy machines.  School budgets simply can’t absorb the cost of paper or copy machine repair.  Taxpayers will vote for building a new school.  But they will not vote money for a school operating levy.

broken political promises

Before every election, politicians make hefty promises to support education.  After every election they promise taxpayers to make hefty budget cuts.  The first to be deserted?  The schools…more correctly…the students.

I once wrote a humorous piece on copy machines in schools that I will share here.  If you’ve never worked in a school, you won’t believe it.  But every single situation is something I have experienced while teaching in schools in America.


I’m not talking about kids who don’t want to study and look on classmates’ papers during a test.  I’m talking about machines that copy worksheets, newsletters to parents and homework assignments.  Here is  the reality within schools.

school frustrations

  • The only safe and accurate assumption to make is that no school in America will ever have a copier for teachers to use.  Don’t set your standards too high.  The reality will hurt too much.
  • I don’t mean that there won’t be one on the premises.  Usually if you know where to look you can spot one.  In my job before my last teaching job, I could spot one near my classroom.  It was in a small room with glass windows, but the door was locked.  You could see it and salivate, but that was all. I struggled for five years to get a key to that door.  Remember this is a true story.
  • If you ever actually spot a copy machine on school premises don’t get too excited.  Some copy machines are never allowed to be used by teachers.  Only administrators and secretaries have the authority to use them.  Intelligence and advanced degrees won’t buy you the right to touch them.
  • If the copy machine assigned to teachers is on, it will ask for a password.  But the password you’ve been assigned will never work when you need it most.  In some instances it will never work at all.  You will have to exchange other school supplies (like staplers, and 3 hole punches) to use the password of another teacher.  But they will never let you know their password, they will only tap it in quickly with their hand covering the little window on the machine.  They are not fools.  Teachers with working passwords are like English royalty.  No working password?  Learn to curtsy.
  • If you report to your administrator that your password is not working they will tell you to fill out a form…these days online…and send a request to technology.  You will never be able to find the name of the form. It will probably be named nwpw#3256.  That stands for non-working passwordThey throw in the numbers because they are afraid you might figure out the name of the form and consequently use paper and toner.
  • If you ever get a password and see a copy machine with no line next to it, trust me it isn’t working. Go ahead.  Don’t believe me.  It may appear to be working. Unfortunately you will only believe this after it eats your master copy.
  • No matter how early you arrive at school or how late you stay, the copy machine will always have a long line next to it.
  • If you arrive at 5:00 am and there is no line next to it, you will be in charge of turning it on.  It will take forever to warm up.  If you stand there and wait, forty-five minutes later you will finally figure out that it isn’t working.
  • If you turn it on to warm up and come back twenty minutes later to run your copies, there will be one person in front of you at 5:20.  They will be running 30 page packets.
  • No plan bell is ever long enough to work your way to the front of the copy line.  You will make it to the front of the line at the exact moment you have to be back in class teaching.
  • If you finally do get to the front of the copy line and are excited, you are only moments away from discovering that the person in line in front of you jammed the machine.  They will never admit this and you will be left trying to unjam his jam and everyone behind you will believe you broke the machine.  They will be complaining about you all over the building that day.
  • If you find that the machine does not have a line, your password actually works, and it doesn’t show a jam, there is only one possible explanation.  There is no paper left in the cabinet.
  • If you report to the administrator (or more probably someone he has designated) that there is not paper in the cabinet, she will tell you that you must order copy paper from your budget.
  • You have no budget for ordering paper.
  • Kinkos (is that still their name?), Staples and Office Depot know all these facts and love them.  Their stock is buffered by the long line of teachers who use their take home salaries to buy copy paper and run off work for their students.

Thus I return to and stand by my original premise.  No school in America will have a copier for a teacher’s use.  We can replace  chalkboards with wipe off boards and sometimes even smart boards.  Every kid can carry a cell phone and an electronic notebook.  Those that can’t, will soon have to walk to the public library to submit their work online, because no school in the Land of the Free can afford copy paper.

TEACH...To Change Lives

TEACH…To Change Lives

Autographed or in large quantities by the author:  dauna@cinci.rr.com

Also available at Amazon.com

Humor in the Classroom


Funny Stories from My Classroom

It’s Labor Day which means school has begun for just about everyone.  I’ve taught almost all age levels, preschool through high school seniors…and now college student interns, learning to teach.  I have the true and funny stories to prove it.

The Obvious Question

It was close to Thanksgiving.  I had been sharing a book of turkey riddles with my preschool class.  The following day we visited a supermarket for a tour and to talk about foods our families might serve for Thanksgiving. In each department there was a spokesperson who talked to the young children briefly about their area of the store.  The lady in the produce section let the preschoolers spray water on the fruits and vegetables.  Big hit with the kids!  In the bakery department they had the chance to sample a cookie.  Yum.  But the head of the meat department clearly had no experience with preschoolers.  His talk included technical terms about meat inspections, USDA requirements, meat temperatures, and how meats were classified.  The class grew very restless, but the speaker seemed unaware. At last it appeared that he was going to release us to the next department.  We were all anxious to move on.  But before we left his area he asked one last thing. ”

Do any of you boys and girls have a question about meat?

Chris raised his hand.  I was stunned.  What could this four-year-old possible want to ask about meat that our tour guide hadn’t already over-explained?

Yes, son?

All the teachers turned to listen.  Chris’ question was thankfully simple.

Why did the turkey cross the road?

The teachers broke into laughter.  The guy from the meat department was finally speechless.

funny classroom stories

Keep Searching

I was teaching an important lesson about diversity to my high school seniors who were future early childhood educators.  We were discussing the importance of choosing preschool toys and materials that are sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of the children we serve.  I warned them to reject items that weren’t gender sensitive in today’s world, such as books and puzzles that always depicted a doctor as male and a nurse as female.

I cautioned my students to make certain all ethnic backgrounds were included in the main characters of stories and materials.  “Also look carefully to be certain that toys and materials include children with special needs,” I said.

Their comments showed they were enthusiastic about this topic. I ended the class with an assignment.  The students were given a ‘make-believe budget” of $500.00 and told to search through catalogs and find items sensitive to a diverse population.  Only politically correct toys would do.

Way in the back of the room, Jennifer started right away.  But she was turning pages just as quickly as she could.  I silently wondered how she could even evaluate the toys at that rate; so I said,

Jennifer, you look like a woman on a mission.  Can you see the items flipping the pages that quickly? 

Her reply?

Don’t anybody bother me, I’m looking for fat Barbies.

classroom humorDelicious Recipe

It was right at the end of a long school day in my third grade classroom.  I was putting my students through our closing chores as they prepared to go home.  I gave my directions without giving it much thought.

Be sure to put your chairs up on top of your desks and pick up any debris.

Eight-year-old Bobby seemed puzzled when he asked,

What’s debris?

                                         My reply was also pretty impromptu.

                                                     Debris is left over stuff.

You could see understanding appear in Bobby’s eyes as he said,

Oh yeah, my mom fixes debris for supper sometimes.

funny calssroom storiesFollow the Rules!

I was preparing a group of teens to travel out-of-town for an educational conference.  I spoke to them seriously about our stay in a hotel.

                         No one is ever to be in the hotel hallway alone. 

                   Even if you’re just going for a bucket of ice, take a partner.

Never talk to strangers or enter the room of someone you’ve just met, no matter how nice they seem.

The atmosphere of my classroom was very sober…just the way I wanted it to be.  It is a big responsibility taking teens out-of-town for several days to stay in a hotel.  I never took this part of the job lightly.

At precisely that moment there was a knock on my classroom door.  A man from the technology department whom I had never met before, was looking for the room that housed the media brain of our building.  That particular door is somewhat hidden.  You must pass through another room that has no posted room number in order to find it.  I tried to describe the process to him, but he was still confused.  I stepped outside my classroom door, walked a few feet down the hall, opened the unmarked door and escorted him inside, to point to the door he was trying to find.  I was back to my classroom in seconds.

My classroom was completely quiet, still sober from our previous conversation.   Then one of my girls with a twinkle in her eye spoke up bravely and said,

Excuse me, Mrs. Easley, but didn’t we just see you leave your friends and go into a room alone with a strange man who you didn’t even know?

For a second I didn’t smile.  I tried to stay stern.  But it was a hopeless cause.  We dissolved into giggles, then laughter, then finally guffaws.  Tears streamed down our faces. My safety lecture is one they (and I) will never forget.


Read about ways to help students create success in life.

TEACHTo Change Lives.

Now available at Amazon.com