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Back to School – Raising and Parenting The Class Clown
Lessons from a Former Teacher and Current Mother
Yep, those are my girls and yes, the child on the right is our little clown!
Growing up I had a friend that was totally incapable of being serious. He would try but somehow it just would not stick. You could give him something as simple as a math problem and he would have to find a way to make a joke of it. Teachers got furious and would inevitably punish him. I always felt sorry for him. I knew him outside of school and I knew he meant no harm. He simply got nervous about learning and social situations. Watching this class clown taught me some things over all those years. What he needed was a teacher that was up to the task.
During our fifth grade year, Jeff (we will call him Jeff) and I ended up with the same teacher. She was a pretty cool teacher because she wore blue jeans to school. It seemed all the other teachers were much older and not nearly as stylish, so we were drawn to her. Almost immediately, Jeff challenged her patience with his comedic antics. That teacher was smart, however, and she quickly ran the class and Jeff’s commodity routine.
The first week of school, she pulled Jeff to the side in private and told him that she thought he was massively talented. She asked him if he would do her the favor of putting on a show for the class. Needless to say that was something that Jeff loved the idea of and he quickly agreed. Then the teacher told him that there was only one catch….Jeff had to behave all week and make his grades to get that time at the end of the school week. (Note: to monitor this, set up a checklist with you and your child or you and your student.)
It was like she had created a new student completely. Jeff not only became a solid student. He continued to be one even after he had moved on and lost his comedy shows. Jeff is now a lawyer that has tried cases you almost surely have heard of… some would say he still is juggling a lot of tricks in front of a “courtroom” full of his peers.
The bottom line here is this. Parents should not panic if their kid is the class clown. Class clowns are inevitably the most creative people in the class…after all, wit and humor cannot be taught. Teaching our clowns a time and purpose for everything, however, is quite important. Class clowns need a release, they need a time where attention is granted, and they also need to be able to conform to society’s rules – for example, not talking or being silly in the middle of a writing lesson.
My youngest, is our silly little girl. When being spoken to in a stern manor, she smiles. She is not being disrespectful, it is her way of handling the situation. Her sister and I are very serious. We tend to be Type A and over worry and over do. It is nice to have the balance of a sister/child that can bring laughter to our day – after all, hasn’t our doctor told us “laughter is the best medicine?” When correcting this child, I have to remind myself not to kill her spirit. I love this joyful heart she has, but I need to teach her as as a toddler how and when is best to use this funny behavior.
Tips for Your Class Clown:
- Don’t ignore the Student/Child – This personality does “need” attention.
- Have a cue or hand movement between you and the child so they know when to stop – They will love this “Secret” only you both know.
- Set a conference – A time for you and the child to meet and find the appropriate time and place for their humor to be displayed.
- Praise the good in what you see around – That child will want the praise too and will “perform” to what you are giving attention.
- Provide an outlet or a time for “performance”
As parents you can do the same thing for your class clown. Take the time to allow your class clown to let out energy. This could be in the form of acting, karate, gymnastics or something else that allows them to perform and move around. That outlet made it possible for Jeff to calm himself in anticipation and he learned to focus his talents into a skit each week.
Find more on Frugal Coupon Living in the Back to School Series.
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