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


This song allows us to give voice to all committees -- and to honor that rare committee that can work it out.

Committee Work

Sung to the Beatles tune, We Can Work It Out

Committee work can be deeply satisfying -- a successful collaborative effort that takes into account all points of view and reaches a consensus on important issues. Or it can be maddeningly frustrating -- with personalities taking over, voices silenced, time wasted, and bad snacks on top of it all. Heres to the rare committee that can work it out.

Try to see it my way,
I will simply keep on talking till I wear you out.
We can look at your way,
But I have to tell you that Im right without a doubt.

We can duke it out.
We can work it out.

Maybe you could listen
To what others say; you always think you know it all.
We have tried to say things,
Talking to yous just like we are talking to a wall.

We cant work it out.
We cant work it out.

Meetings are the bane of our ex-i-ii-i-stence.
Theres too much talking, my friend.
Talking at each other makes no se-e-e-e-ense,
So must we do it again?

Where is the agenda?
Have we planned our points; do we have snacks; do we have goals?
We can talk for hours,
Do we know who will facilitate and other roles?

We should plan it out,
We should plan it out.

Im the one whos silent,
Cause I need more time to process thoughts before I speak.
So the words race by me,
But Ill be ready to contribute by next week.

I can wait it out,
I can wait it out.

Meetings could be very satisfy-y-y-y-ing,
If we agreed on some things.
Therere a few things that we could be try-yy-y-ing,
And we could see what they bring.

We could weigh all viewpoints.
We could speak in turn, one at a time, and not too long.
We could listen closely.
We could not assume what others say is always wrong.

We can work it out.
We can work it out.

We could see it our way,
If wed each agree that we could see beyond our nose.
When we see it our way,
We could all agree and come out smelling like a rose.

We can work it out.
We can work it out.

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Article by Eric Baylin
Education World®
Copyright © 2009 Education World


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!

Click here to return to the Education World Columnists archive page.

Article by Eric Baylin
Education World®
Copyright © 2008 Education World