Friday I turned in my exam grades and finished another semester. This will be my 20th fall term as a high school Bible teacher. I routinely tell folks that I never knew the meaning of tired until I became an educator. Teaching is like being on stage for seven hours a day, five days a week. It is a constant stream of decisions with a constant stream of students about a constant stream of issues. In a word, exhausting. But it’s also funny. So funny in fact that I don’t watch comedy movies for a good laugh. Because I’m in one every day.
Recently I had a class of freshman boys that would routinely dogpile each other on the floor for no particular reason. It got no better when we gathered all the freshman boys for an exam review competition. One of the teachers told me the chaos looked like Lord of the Flies. To me it just looked like normal freshman boys at the end of a school day.
On another occasion, I had a couple of young men goofing around before class. They ended up running into an unstable bookcase in my room. The whole thing came crashing down with books flying everywhere. It was like a scene from a slapstick comedy. We laughed uncontrollably for several minutes before the clean-up began.
In another class, I had a girl fall asleep. I have been known to throw random objects at those who drift off. But this time, as a class, we tiptoed out, turned out the lights, and pounded furiously on the door. The poor girl came out looking like she had seen a ghost. She was jerked awake not knowing where she was or what was happening. We laughed a long time.
Besides these hilarious events, high school students are just funny. And with all the sadness that so many deal with at this age, they want to laugh. They need to laugh. A long time ago, I realized I needed to laugh with them. For all the seriousness of teaching Bible, I knew that my classroom needed to be a place filled with light and laughter. Maybe in the chuckling or the silliness, they would feel a glimmer of that radiance the Bible calls joy. And they would feel drawn to the source of that joy.
This season we all need the same medicine, the laughter that draws us to joy. Merry Christmas to all my readers!