They Were Right!

March 31, 2010

Post by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan BarnesEvery Outreach Educator seems to have their own style when it comes to presenting programs.  Some of us are the nurturing, motherly types and some of us are more straight-laced, teacher types.  I, on the other hand, refer to myself as “the crazy uncle” type, who shows up, has loads of fun, and gets the students excited while teaching science.

With that in mind, one of my favorite jokes to say during assemblies is that,  “I will do (insert cool thing here), but ONLY because I am SUCH A NICE GUY… no matter what my ex-girlfriends keep trying to tell people.”  It gets a chuckle the first time and by the third time (because I fully subscribe to the comedic “rule of three”), it’s riotously hilarious.
This past Friday I was at Overlook Elementary in (tragically) snowy Wadsworth, Ohio.  I had just finished my assembly, complete with three “ex-girlfriend” jokes, and was starting to facilitate the hands-on sessions.  At the beginning of each hands-on session, I give the group five rules to follow.  The five rules are:
1)  Try every station once before you repeat a station a second time.
2)  Maintain a three miles per hour (walking) speed limit.
3)  When the session is over, come back to the center and have a seat.
4)  Every students must learn something new.
5)  And the biggest, the most important rule:  every student must have fun.
While I say these rules, I try to keep humor infused; usually by doing a funky walk to demonstrate three miles per hour and telling the students if they don’t raise their hand indicating that they‘ve learned something new, I’ll be forced to think that they actually have smelly armpits and will call them “stinky” for the rest of the day.
This leaves the final rule, which I build up by saying it’s THE biggest, THE MOST IMPORTANT rule.  As I’m building up this final rule, there’s usually one student who jumps the gun and blurts out, “HAVE FUN!”  Since this occurs regularly, I’ve begun to make a big joke by saying, “Since someone couldn’t wait and HAD to interrupt me, Rule 5 is now “no fun” and if any of you have fun, I will send you straight to the Principal’s office!”  This usually gets a big laugh.
Overlook Elementary, however, was a little different thanks to one adorable little second grader.  Upon telling them, “no fun!” she shouted,
“You’re ex-girlfriends were right about you!”
 …and I almost fell over laughing.


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