Northwest Missourian Opinion

College is awkward. That applies not only to students attending class, but also to the teacher standing in the front of the classroom preaching a lecture.

Few moments are more universally uncomfortable and more awkward, than the instant cricket chirps following a professor delivering a well-intended joke.

Professors have to deal with a lot. That’s no secret. The sheer number of loud, gossiping girls, people that seem to think class starts 10 minutes later than it actually does, hungover students not-so-subtly wearing glasses indoors and students that contribute far more than anyone cares to hear is nearly incomprehensible.

Yet, the most staggering professorial achievement we, as students, often seem to trivialize is that teachers stand up there every single day, in front a whole crowd of juveniles, and rigorously attempt to teach something. That is an act most of us would be far too scared to attempt ourselves. It requires an insane amount of preparation, willpower and sheer courage.  

They really put themselves out there, particularly when attempting one of the most quintessential actions of any classic, corny teacher: the dreaded teacher joke.

Math teachers will make acute joke here or there, a history teacher has never past up a chance for a laugh, chemistry teachers periodically say one that is sodium funny and don’t get me star-ted on astronomy professors. But as unorthodox, unheard of and ridiculous the idea may sound, students should consider, even for a fraction of a second, laughing at teachers’ jokes.

It’s mutually beneficial.  Not only does the National Education Association say laughter helps people learn, but it also helps the teacher feel a tad more validated and in turn, likely a tad more generous.

The response to a teacher’s joke is often similar to a kite on a windless day. It falls flat and is majorly disappointing.

Abysmal dad jokes, light, self-deprecating comments and even puns, widely considered the lowest form of comedy, take some level of effort and planning. Laughing, on the other hand, takes very little work.    

I’m not saying go full out, roaring hyena; because unless it’s biology or animal science, hyena noises in the classroom are generally considered pretty startling.

But I, for one, would prefer a quick, soft murmur to that horribly sad, subsequent pause of silence when teachers await a response after a joke.     

Besides, as shocking as it may seem, there are at least a couple students in nearly every scenario, in nearly every classroom, that authentically enjoy that teacher’s joke or, at the very least, appreciate the effort. And those students should not be punished for their classmate’s fear of laughing. So, if for no other reason, students should attempt a chuckle, a giggle or even a soft snicker, simply for the good of the whole.

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