Today I learned a valuable lesson from my sophomore boys; when presented with a situation that offers only laughter or tears, choose laughter. Well, maybe I'm posing it a bit dramatically, but you get the point.
The 7th period sophomores offer me a challenge in learning and teaching most afternoons, and I believe I'm becoming a better teacher because of it. Today they tromped into class as they always do, a mix of goofy gentlemen. However, today I heard whisper as they milled around before the second bell rang; "1:05?" "Yeah, 1-0-5." and then they would giggle (yes, sophomore boys giggle). I filed this information in my head and jumped into class as the second bell rang.
There were a few notes I wanted to give to the class as a whole, and then the class would present the notes they created in different small groups. The first group went fairly well; I did pause the note givers for a moment to inform the rest of the class that respect meant listening and thus silence on their part. About 2 minutes before the second group came up, the clock showed 1:05PM...and most of the boys stuck fake mustaches and beards to their clean-shaven faces.
Camouflage, duct tape beards and mustaches...so...do you laugh or do you cry? I choose to smile and help the boys giving notes wrap up their presentation. The next duo had a beard and mustache covering their grins as they came up to the board. I didn't say anything, but I kept using my friendly teacher voice and continued to redirect note givers and note takers to particular ideas that connected. Finally, one brave soul asked, "Sister, did we make you laugh?" I thought again for a moment, smiled, and said, "Gentlemen you are so odd today; laugh at what?" And they all giggled.
We finished class without any great incident, but just before the bell I gave a few recommendations myself. I suggested they use a little of their mom's cold cream to soothe the duct tape irritation, and reminded them to take the fake facial hair off before going to their next class.
So...was I right or wrong in my approach? I don't know, but I found more life in choosing to laugh with my students today than in choosing to be angry at their laughter.
Blessings of Laughter,