Did you know that I have a deep penchant for alligator jokes? (And anything resembling plays on words, rhyming, riddles or five-year old humor. It may be because I am 50% British; you know the English and their clever use of punning.)

I am also the mother of a 10-year old daughter to whom I am constantly telling these ridiculous riddles. Can’t you just see her obligatory eye roll? Here are a couple of my favorites:

Q: What do you call an alligator in a vest?
A: An investigator!

Q: What do you call an alligator with a juris doctorate?
A: A litigator!

Humor is an important part of life, and I find it to be quite a useful tool with children. Perhaps that is one of the many qualities that made me fall in love with Bixby. The teachers joke with one another while also employing affectionate humor with our students. When I am at school, I hear a constant refrain of laughter, giggles, and good-natured fun. (Not to mention some serious learning – were you aware that a group of 3rd graders just read Code Talker? A sophisticated book, the author describes how the Navajo Indians helped win World War II. It was just two years ago that I enjoyed this book myself!)

Bixby is a happy place. Though I am still working to fully understand what makes our school so special, there is a reverence to children that I have not seen in other places. What we all know and research confirms is that when children are happy and feel safe (“free to be me”), they develop their voices and learning exponentially increases.

I look forward to learning with your children, laughing with them, and maybe exchanging a few jokes!

Warm wishes for a terrific summer,
Beth Heller

PS – here is a bonus:

Q: What does an alligator in a race drink?
A: Gatorade!