Core Value Blog Post: Having FUN We get more work done!

Nobody can inspire us like great teachers can. They seem to come along at just the right moment, at a time when we need them the most. Great teachers show us things about ourselves that we can’t see. They see potential in us that others can’t, including ourselves. Above all, they give us the courage to find our way with just enough guidance to show us that the impossible, or what we perceive as impossible, is possible.

Maybe you had a few great teachers or mentors that connected with you over the years as I did. I still remember those teachers, and what they all had in common was that they always made it FUN, and because of that, I learned so much from them. Mrs. Churn, Mrs. Woods, and Mr. Durand were three teachers I had throughout my school years that went out of their way to make class fun, and because of it, I still remember them to this day, and I got more work done in their class than any other. I looked forward to being there every day.

I have seen lots of news lately about TikTok. I found a story about a teacher that used TikTok to keep her kids engaged and made it fun! Here is her story:

When in-person learning was canceled for the remainder of the school year due to coronavirus concerns, Fulton High School math teacher Kimberly Callahan had to get creative to stay engaged with her students.
Before school was canceled, Callahan had heard her students talking about TikTok in the classroom. Once everyone was confined to their homes during the safer-at-home order in April, she decided to hop on the app. Since her students had inspired her to join TikTok in the first place, she asked them what her first post should be. In early April, she posted a video doing a viral dance that received 200 likes. “They [her students] thought it was pretty funny,” said Callahan.

From there, her content creation took off. The “funny math teacher” now has over 50,000 followers on TikTok.

“I had no idea that people would want to watch a math teacher do random things to entertain her students,” says Callahan earning thousands of views on her posts, “but teachers are taking over the app I swear.”

Callahan not only uses the app to entertain her students but also to stay connected.

“I needed to find a way for them to want to come to my [virtual] office hours because they were optional,” says Callahan, “so, if I posted some video, a kid would be more likely to come.”

While her students wanted to mostly talk about her videos in her virtual office hours, it was still a way to stay engaged from home. Callahan is no stranger to producing creative content. In 2016, the math teacher teamed up with students to create a music video using the song “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” to help kids remember the Quadratic formula.

Callahan plans to continue to use TikTok this upcoming school year, generating ways she can use the app as a tool to facilitate lessons.  She recalls teaching a lesson about rotations back in February and a lyric, “I did a full 180” from the song “Don’t Start Now” was popular on the app at the time.

“I was like, ‘man I could have had the kids do a project on rotations with the TikTok song,” recalls Callahan, “that could’ve been an option for them to do. I’m sad I didn’t find TikTok until now, but I’m for sure going to use it in the future in the classroom.”

Callahan is constantly looking for ways to express her creativity, and TikTok is a way for her to do that outside of the classroom while still connecting with her students.

“Everyone always tells me my TikToks make their day or make them laugh, so just trying to spread some joy during difficult times,” said Callahan.

This teacher has become great at connecting with her students, making class fun for them, and because of it, her kids are thriving and doing well and always having fun, and I am sure they get all their work done! Kimberly can teach us a great lesson about this week’s core value.  It does not matter what the situation is or what challenges we all have, as long as we figure out a way to have fun, we can overcome everything and become whatever we always wanted to be but never imagined we could be.

Jack Fallon taught me many things that helped me appreciate life and appreciate TLC. One of the most important lessons was that we can’t always control the physical environment we are in, but we can control the vibe and the energy of any environment, and that’s what I try to do to this very day!  Can you help? Let’s have fun today, and the next day and the next day and the next day.

Thanks for reading! Now have fun and make it fun for others; life is short!

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