Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Learning Are Fun?

Everybody loves “show biz” but it aint cheap or easy.
Production costs of an average TV show run to about 3 million per hour and require dozens of highly paid people. Often the shows that result are poor or mediocre at best.
While some production companies have slashed production costs, the average
cost of a half-hour program grew from "$994,000 to $1,227,000 per episode,
or 23.4 percent, between 2000 and 2003 alone."*
. An hour of Big Brother cost $286,000 during the first season (it's more now). An average half hour of sitcom costs $1.3 million (add millions if it has a pampered cast like Friends').
The cost of production of a popular video game can run into the millions or tens of millions of dollars.
An now, teachers are expected to put on five or more “shows” a day using a piece of chalk and a chalkboard and make it entertaining as well as educational! If the lesson is “boring” and the children are not “engaged” the teacher is a “poor teacher”.
I have to say that in all my years of teaching, I never could find a way to make pH as interesting as “The Rolling Stones”!
Does this mean that teachers shouldn’t to try make learning a pleasant experience, of course not, but to expect the teacher to consistently make education “fun” is certainly an unrealistic demand.
The old cliché, “Learning is fun” is only partially true. The efforts required to learn are rarely fun. I doubt that I could find many young people who would rather do math homework than go to a Lady Gaga concert.
Learning is fun but only after a subject is learned via study and hard work because one can then feel a sense of accomplishment. The learning process itself however is usually not considered to be “fun”. That’s why they call it home ”work” and school “work” because if done properly, it is hard “work”.
It’s time that we stop expecting teachers to be entertainers and call them what they really are and should be, that is, conveyors of knowledge to the next generation.



  1. When a student is lucky to have a school teacher who is fun; it's probably because the teacher is a fun person. As in all professions, not all practitioners are fun people. I can think of many teachers in my children's public school experience who were great fun and who regularly provided fertile educational material. I considered that a gift and not what I'd expect of all teachers on a daily basis... wouldn't that be nice though?

  2. There is a difference between fun and down right boring. The worst two teachers I ever had the displeasure to meet read their entire lecture to the class. I remember raising my hand to ask a question and both teachers said "Jack we don't take questions" In my HS class I sat there and took it, while in college I walked out of the lecture. That was boring. I think a good teacher goes out of their way to make it interesting, but not necessarily fun.

  3. After a one hour physics lesson I was asked how long it took me to prepare the lesson. My answer was "about 10 years" and I wasn't kidding.


  4. I thoroughly agree with EDG's comment. Every teacher should try to make learning fun but everyone can't and shouldn't be expected too. Some topics are not conducive to being fun (for example the Holocaust).
    All doctors should have a good bedside manner but not all do. Given the choice between a good bedside manner and receiving proper medical care, I'll go for proper care every time.
    Additionally, when "making learning fun" becomes a primary objective, often the point of the lesson is lost. The teacher's efforts to make every lesson "fun" overshadows the intended content and everyone has lots of "fun" but one learns much.
    I did countless chemistry and physics demonstrations during my teaching career to help develop interest and prove points. Most often, after the demonstration was over and the smoke cleared, questions about why or how did that happen were not asked. Instead the most frequent response was - we don't really care how or why, just - "can we see it again".


What do you think?