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Eric Baylin's
Songs to Brighten
A Teacher's Day


This song is dedicated to those pressure-releasing moments in the faculty lounge -- often crammed, as they are, into the confines of a short lunch break. Oops! I have to run. My class is waiting.

Oops! Lunch Is Over

(Sung to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel.

The faculty lounge is a place where teachers can let down their hair; where generally innocent complaining and venting can help one make it through the rest of the day. Sometimes the conversations center on serious pedagogy, but more often than not, they are comprised of a litany of the mornings woes and travails.

All around the faculty lounge, the teachers are complaining.
Its just a thing that teachers do -- teaching is draining.
A teacher tells the story of, how a certain student drove her
To the brink, and so it goes.
Oops! Lunch is over

The conversation centers around, the feelings theyve been storing.
The students never turn in their work; the meeting was boring.
I dont have time to write reports; Im not somebodys gopher.
Thats the ways the story goes.
Oops! Lunch is over.

Ive got a million papers to grade; a test to write for Monday.
My kids are driving me up the wall; today is not a fun day.
Jack he never figures it out, and Jill she is a loafer,
Thats the way the story goes.
Oops! Lunch is over.

Administrators dont understand; theres never time to do things.
They think that we have nothing to do; theyre always adding new things.
And then they say theres no extra time; no chance to smell the clover.
Thats the way the story goes.
Oops! Lunch is over.

Its just a part of teacher life -- some innocent complaining.
We need a place to open the vent when tensions have been straining;
Some friends who are simpatico, who understand and know for
All that we complain about
Oops! Lunch is over.

Tuning our Schools with Laughter

This is my 40th year teaching. Ouch! Its hard to see that in print. Several years ago, I had one of those great aha" moments that has given new life to my role as an educator.
Ive always been interested in working to change schools in ways that enhance and support learning, but Id gotten to a point in my career when I saw that all my serious, effortful striving played only a minimal role in change. The aha" came when I realized that I could, at least, change my state of mind by laughing at the very things that bugged me most. OK, maybe not everything. But at least the little everyday stuff that nags at me and drags me down.
That thought became fodder for songs about school and teaching, which I started writing as a way of helping myself (and my colleagues) survive the year with an intact sense of humor.
I still work hard to change the things that stand in the way of student (and adult) success in schools. But now I wonder -- seriously -- if laughter itself isnt one of the soundest pedagogies, a best practice" that can help us re-tune our schools and shift the culture to one that genuinely embraces wellbeing and lightness of heart as sound supports for learning.
I wouldnt mind working at a school whose mission statement included, after those ever-familiar phrases, lifelong learning" and supportive, yet challenging environment," the words

And this is a school where we love to laugh!

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Article by Eric Baylin
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