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An Educator’s Narrative on Keeping Fun in the Day-to-Day

Let loose
Julie Ann Howlett

There is a kid in all of us often being suppressed or squandered among the many serious moments of adulthood. There is always a time and necessity for seriousness, but there also needs to be a cultivation of joy, humor, and silliness in one’s life too.

There is a kid in all of us often being suppressed or squandered among the many serious moments of adulthood. There is always a time and necessity for seriousness, but there also needs to be a cultivation of joy, humor, and silliness in one’s life too.

The “band” starts up, my gradebook and pen poised at the ready for note taking. A rock tempo starts and the lyrics begin You are so great and [student’s name] is so…
‘Alright, stop, stop, stop, STOP! I knew there was a reason I should have asked you to share your lyrics with me!’ I exclaim to everyone in the classroom. I am simultaneously shocked, amused, and recovering from this clever teenage hijacking of my classroom from what was supposed to be an extra credit opportunity for reflecting on environmental sustainability.

It’s recalling times like these that I can laugh and remember the best teaching advice I ever got. My student teaching supervisor shared with me ‘Remember, at the end of the day, they are still just kids.’ This piece of advice has helped me through emotional teaching experiences and tutoring moments. I share this fact freely and generously with kids and parents alike in my educational consulting business, too, for I find that kids and parents are increasingly critical of themselves in the fast-paced, competitive education world now dominating school life.

Whether one is a mom, business owner, business executive, or both, I would argue that the intention behind this adage is one that benefits many. How many times have you caught yourself on YouTube watching a funny Ellen DeGeneres clip, or recent ‘Funny Cats Compilation’ video segment?

There is a kid in all of us often being suppressed or squandered among the many serious moments of adulthood. There is always a time and necessity for seriousness, but there also needs to be a cultivation of joy, humor, and silliness in one’s life too.

Consider implementing some of these teacher-tested, business-owner-approved methods for spreading peace and humor into your everyday working life.

1. Create a ‘fun’ category in Google calendar or your personalized calendar.
This allows one to be held accountable for tasks that can genuinely be marked as something just for you or something bringing a lot of joy.

2. Take advantage of the print screen key on a PC.
Still laughing from a recent internet meme or funny vine watched recently? Press the print screen button a PC and then open up a program such as Microsoft Paint. Hit ‘paste’ and the freeze frame will appear as a pasted image. Crop, save, and set the funny image as a desktop background to keep the giggling going for further times ahead.

3. Have a ‘Rock Out’ Playlist on the queue.
Make this available to you on your computer, phone, and car stereo. Jamming to your favorite artist will boost mood and happiness neurotransmitters in your brain, biochemically helping you to divert from a negative thought or frustrating task. For something soothing, consider “Tibetan Singing Bowls” on YouTube.

4. Put Down Your Electronic Leash.
Take a cue from the kids begging you to go outside or gleefully running around your nearest green space: time in nature matters. Scientific studies show it can restore attention, be calming, and provide uplift for stressful, hyperactive, or saddened moods. In fact, there is recent evidence time in nature may help ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD in kids (Taylor & Kuo, 2004).

Most of all, remember that life is, foremost, meant to be enjoyed and not stressed over. Interpreting an email from your coworker as snarky or chastising doesn’t make you feel any better. Instead, assume the person misunderstood their intended tone, and give them the benefit of the doubt. In effect, you will be a lot happier. Likewise, if you are a teacher, mom, or babysitter, and look up to find pencils stuck into the ceiling or used to draw on the wall, take a deep breath, breathe, laugh, and remind yourself ‘At the end of the day, they are just kids.’

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I have accepted the fact that there are a number of things I cannot control, but that which I can control- cultivating my attentiveness and energy into tasks that bring me joy- are as rewarding and fulfilling as anyone could hope for.

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate the fact that I have the tenacity to pursue what brings me the most joy, regardless of the life change ups it requires.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

One of the most rewarding achievements I have is the recognition that at 26 I am self-aware of how to cultivate self-improvements, and I am pursuing my own business ventures. In other words, I am at exactly where I need to be on the cusp of when I feel I am most capable of doing so. The goal I still have is a vision of education that reinforces compassion and empowerment above competition and negativity.

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

I freely admit I can be impulsive and impatient. A habit I am self-aware of, it has also given me the drive to push forward, make changes, and create a change up when necessary.

How often do you take the time out during the day to verbalize what you love about yourself? Do you experience more negative self talk than positive self-talk?

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)

Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?

I love my…boyfriend, for inspiring and pushing me to be the very best person I can be. Also, myself, not perfectly, but it is always there.

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About the author

Julie Ann Howlett

Julie Ann Howlett

Julie Ann Howlett is an experienced educator, brain science enthusiast, all-around-science advocate, and nature enthusiast. She has founded Julie Ann Howlett Consulting and Nurturing Neurons, a compassionate education start up offering learning modules for parents, nannies, caretakers, and educators. Follow her on Twitter @nurturingneuron and check out her video blog on YouTube Channel Nurturing Neurons

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