You can laugh and learn at the same time - that’s a philosophy one Pinellas County teacher is using, and it’s getting him national attention.
Osceola Middle School’s civic teacher Mike Rivera will be appearing on ABC’s ‘The View’ this week, for being one of America’s funniest teachers.
It’s not every classroom you’ll hear Star Wars music when someone gets a failing grade, or loud praise when a student excels.
In Rivera’s class, a stuffed ‘Stewie’ from Family Guy has his own seat, and funny TV characters cover Rivera’s desk.
During his 13 years of teaching at the school, Rivera has used humor to earn kids’ respect and get their attention.
“One student said, ‘it’s like a big kid is teaching us,’ so they have that bond with you,” said Rivera, “the key is knowing where the line is.”
It seems to be working. Seventh grader Cameron Westmoreland enjoys the class, “he always makes us laugh - like, he doesn’t try it just happens,” she said, “what he says is so funny.”
Being hilarious has landed Rivera a spot as a finalist in ‘The View’ competition ‘America’s Most Hilarious Teacher.’
The part time comedian used some stand-up comedy video for his audition. He said through laughter, comes improvement in behavior and grades.
“I’m paying attention more in this class because the other classes are boring,” said student Carissa Farrow.
“You want to learn instead of just sitting there,” said 7th grader A.J. Davis.
Rivera said his success in the classroom is all the recognition he needs.
“Can you be the serious teacher? Of course you can. But can you also have fun with them? Yeah, every chance you can get,” he said.
Rivera said he’s flying out to New York Wednesday, and is slated to appear on the show Friday where he’ll give a two-minute comedy routine.