Have you ever heard of Fun At Work day? This is where you need to enjoy yourself at work and it is celebrated on 28th January or the last Friday in January, which is today! There is also a similar day called International Fun at Work Day which is celebrated on April 1st. The suggestion is that you don’t have fun at work and that in order to enjoy this day you must do something out of the ordinary like dress up, play jokes (as long as they don’t offend anyone!) turn the music up loud, or just dance and sing! Lots of people don’t enjoy their jobs and work can be very dull. A job is after all about getting the work you have been employed to do, done! It is the lucky few who have a job that they enjoy every day, that is varied, exciting and full of fun. But work can sometimes be more productive if there is a fun and playful attitude and a great team spirit. Having fun at work has been shown to lower absenteeism and increase job satisfaction and productivity. Is it any surprise that people who spend more time at work than anywhere else want to try and enjoy it, at least for some of the time?
I am lucky in that I do enjoy many aspects of my job. Working with children and teaching them is rewarding, although it can be very stressful as well! I am lucky to teach with lovely colleagues who work hard, but also have a great sense of humour. Life in the classroom is full of funny moments which make us laugh and help us get through the tricky ones. Children are so individual and say such amusing things. I can also find myself saying ridiculous things that often have a double meaning or just sound strange. Any of these can make us giggle. The job is varied and certainly not dull, although saying the same thing over and over again and doing the same task repetitively can occasionally be a tad tiresome and children at times test my patience! When you have gone over sounds and blending lots of times and you say “what does p-i-g say ?” and the reply is something random like “run” you can despair! Generally though, I think I’m quite lucky, but I thought I’d share five favourite things I think we do at work which encourage us to have fun!
Number one- Staff Christmas Pantomime
A long time ago the children at my school were taken to a professional local pantomime by coach each Christmas. I remember going the very last time and various issues brought around the change. The school thought they had booked a whole section of the auditorium yet we arrived to find outside visitors sitting in amongst the children making it risky. There was an issue with the coaches and children were crying and scared of the actual pantomime. The head teacher at the time knew that myself and another member of staff performed and said she thought we could do a staff panto that the children would enjoy as much and be cheaper, so the idea was set in motion.
A small group of us got together and we wrote a brief outline of a well known panto with a few differences and we have been doing it ever since. There is usually a link to a TV programme so we’ve had Celebrity Get Me out Of Here, Strictly, X Factor and this year The Great British Bake Off. Some years we have celebrities in it like Jedward and other years we have changed it to be school project related. There are always dances or songs that the children have done in their Christmas productions or that are well known, so they can join in and watch the staff do what we ask of them. The pantomime only ever has an outline and no script, so ad libbing can be daunting, but very amusing too! It means we don’t have many rehearsals as there is no need as the wording changes each time and thankfully it is only watched by the children!
Staff have come and gone yet new staff generally always join in and enjoy the team spirit and enjoyment the children get out of it. The staff who really don’t want to do anything will make props, organise music or be crowd control! It is a real fun team effort and puts a smile on both the staff and children’s faces.
Number Two-Lads and Mums Day
Each year at school we arrange a Lads afternoon and a Mums afternoon where the children do activities with their lad or mum! The activities are always fun activities and it is so lovely to see children spending time with their grown ups in school. The afternoon for the mums includes making a flower and decorating a cake, so they can then treat their mum to afternoon tea. The lads afternoon is all about pirates. They go on a treasure hunt, use water pistols to hit targets and sail boats down the water canal, with the highlight being a Hornpipe Dance. Seeing all the children with their lads and dads dressed as Pirates following me doing a Hornpipe dance in the grounds is a real hoot!
The afternoon needs a lot of organisation, but once it has started we can sit back, watch the fun and games and enjoy all the happy smiling faces.
Number Three-School Celebrations and Party’s
There are many occasions where we dress up at school for fun. We wear our pyjamas during Book week and Christmas hats and jumpers for the school Christmas party. For special events like Comic Relief or Children in Need we have dress up days whether it is sticking on coloured spots, wearing facepaint or a particular colour to work. When we did a Space day we all wore underpants over our clothes like Aliens Love Underpants and on our 70th celebration we all got our hippy and psychedelic coloured clothes out to take us back in time…my attic gets a regular visit before any dressing up days like this!
For our school’ s 70th celebration the staff all learnt a great 70’s hit ‘Saturday Night Fever’ dance routine which we performed to the children in a special assembly. We are always singing and dancing in school!
Then of course we have a special party for either a bear or Percy the Park Keeper and there is more role play and dressing up to be done. Teaching is all about performing and if , like me you enjoy performing it can be a lot of fun!
Number Four-Laughter at Books
We read four times a week at our school first thing in the morning and have a variety of reading books. We have the usual Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme, but we also have other schemes which focus on a key word and are very simple. Sometimes the books that are innocent to a child’s mind can be interpreted differently by an adult and seem rather inappropriate! I have to say that I read the books for years without spotting the innuendos, but once they were pointed out there was no stopping our team innuendo radars! Parents have noted it and made comments and quietly, so have we. Now we read, note, look at each other and smile.
The Hungry Little Monkey doesn’t know how to eat a banana and is told to “suck it” “bite it” and ” peck it” The text in the book focussing on the word ‘come’ says ‘come in the water’ and ‘come in the hole’ There was an Oxford Reading Book where the text read ‘mum went up, dad went down’ and another book titled ‘Help! I am wet’ Once you start to see the innuendos they don’t stop, but they keep us quietly amused and laughing. We just wonder if the authors of the books were having a quiet snigger too as they wrote them.
Number Five- Looking For Humour where one can!
There are always seems to be a drama at work whether it is do with kids, colleagues or myself! A lot of the dramas or situations we find ourselves in may not be amusing, but if we can raise a smile or find humour in it then we try!One drama involving myself that is etched in my memory was last Summer when a swarm of wasps were disturbed by some older children at the school. I will never forget the children running towards me with angry wasps swarming after them. I have to admit there was a sense of panic, staff were screamed for and children were herded inside with lots of flapping and brushing off of wasps from clothes until there were just a few flying around the classroom. A couple of the children were stung and so I was I, but in the most embarrassing of places…high up between my legs. My colleagues went over and above the call of duty with what they saw and tried to do! It looked like there was a sting and they were trying to suction pad it out…afterwards we laughed so much and found that wasps don’t leave a sting anyway!
The sight of me with a bottle of vinegar looking over the Reception toilet doors is etched in a number of their minds with amusement!
Another occasion that wasn’t exactly a drama but which caused us to laugh a lot, was the time we were asked to make a video of all the single sounds to help support parents at home. I wasn’t anticipating to be the presenter for such a task and hadn’t dressed for the occasion. One colleague was the videographer and giggled, so much that she had to eventually leave the room as she couldn’t cope with the way I said the letter ‘l’.. the video was never erased and was kept to remind us of how we spent two hours one afternoon!
On this Fun at Work Day I hope you can all have an entertaining Friday full of laughter and happiness and if not you can smile and imagine mine!
Honestly Fiona xxx