If you are like many teachers you probably work hard to keep your students engaged by using humor to hold their attention. This often leads to humorous student awards at the end of the school year. But sometimes, what was meant as a joke can hurt the feelings of students and parents. Being conscious of the implications of your funny student awards is vital to avoiding hurt feelings and building your student’s confidence and self-esteem. Try these techniques for adding humor is a positive way.
Emphasize the Positive
While humor is often a component of end-of-the-year awards, it shouldn’t be the main focus. Look for positive traits of your students first, then find a humorous presentation later. If necessary, make a list of students and their special skills, interests and abilities. This will help you keep your awards focused on the positive.
Brainstorm the Presentation
Now that you have a list of positive traits, it is time to find a humorous way to present an award honoring that skill or trait. Look for humorous graphics to illustrate the skill or visit the dollar store to find funny props that represent it. For example, a “Super Sleuth” award may be presented to a student who is adept at researching and can be presented with a large magnifying glass and sleuth hat. For early elementary students create personalized scratch off certificates with the name of the award hidden in silver and let the student scratch it off to reveal the title of the award and read it aloud. Use creative titles and descriptive language, such a “King of Kindness” or “Word Wizard”, to gain a giggle or two.
It is important not to joke at the expense of your students, even though you know other teachers and students may appreciate the humor. Remember this is a time to honor and reward students, not show off your inner comedian. Avoid the temptation to award that little daydreamer in your class with a Milky Way bar because she is always in outer space. While it is sure to get a laugh, it doesn’t do anything to build up students and reward them for their positive traits and skills.