Doc Seidman Says…..

…..Do you think it’s easy up there in the front of the classroom? Did you ever stop and think about the work that goes into preparing a class for you? We spend hours planning what we will say and do. Apart from what you might think, we don’t simply walk into a class and wing it, at least most of us don’t, anyway. Most college teachers take time to think about what we will say and do.

That holds true for our jokes. Many jokes just don’t happen. Most of us are not that skilled. Often, a joke is developed and nurtured over time. It may have been conceived a long time ago, in some far away class, probably not even in the school we are currently teaching. It might have started as a witty story that only a handful of attentive students chuckled over. Those chuckles were enough to inspire us.  Over time, with perseverance and nurturing, the story turned into a joke. Each time it was repeated It became funnier as there were more robust bursts of laughter.  Now, in front of you, it is a well-crafted, potentially side-splitting witticism whose aim is to make you smile and divert your attention away from the drivel we are calling a “lecture.”

Some of your teachers may be more skilled at improvising  quips that make you smile, smirk, and laugh. Those who can do that should be appreciated. They have a skill that can certainly be used for more profitable endeavors such as comedy writing or stand-up humor, but instead, they choose to stand before you at a reduced salary, trying to make your collegiate journey more palatable. You should revere them and not cut them to shreds on “Rate My Professor.”

In many ways, college teachers and stand-up comedians have a lot in common. They both want the attention of their audience and work very hard to get it. They also need to improvise if things aren’t going well. Like your standup comic who knows his or her audience is losing patience with his or her pre-scripted remarks, the college teacher knows when he or she is bombing. If they are smart, they will change direction and come up with something new. The parallels continue. From being able to make fun of him/her self, to using odd props and  making their audiences smile, the stand-up comic and teacher can learn from each other.

So, the next time you hear that joke, you should laugh. Even it if is not that funny, you should appreciate your teacher’s willingness to bring humor into the classroom and laugh anyway. Whether it is a well-crafted joke, or one delivered on the spur of the moment, look up and smile. Your teacher will love you for it.

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