“Honesty, truth-telling fairness, was Mary's reigning virtue: she neither tried to create illusions, nor indulged in them for her own behoof, and when she was in a good mood she had humor enough in her to laugh at herself.”
-- George Eliot, Middlemarch
After school, a passer-by might be mystified by the laughter coming from my classroom, especially when they see that I am by myself. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. I often find myself almost folded over in laughter at the end of a school day, and it’s usually directed at myself. When the day is done, I often cannot believe some of the silly, self-promoting, and completely incomprehensible things I said and did. It’s as if I’m sitting in the audience at a comedy show, and my strange capers in the classroom that day make up the show. I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m a catastrophe as a teacher, because I’m not – but I know how silly I can seem when I’m pridefully prancing around the classroom like some remarkable mastermind. It’s so easy to see myself as a savior for my students – their long-looked-for liberator from bad grammar and broken-down reading skills -- and that’s when it helps to have a good laugh at my foolishness. My students are sensitive, sharp, and promising young people, and what they don’t need is a teacher who treats them like substandard, malfunctioning machines. They are made of the finest materials in the universe, and when I forget that fundamental fact, the best medicine is some fun-loving, finger-pointing laughter at myself.
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