Laughter, the best medicine...

Tonight I am sitting at the dining room table with my brother. He is doing homework and I was watching an online episode of Elementary, deciding if I am interested or not...As he was sitting here, he started reading quotes aloud to me and laughing.

The sound of genuine laughter can warm your heart. Whether it is a deep from the belly laugh or a high pitched giggle, laughter can take you from the grouchiest mood to joy. Sometimes laughter is a true release of frustration and emotion. I love hearing my brother laugh. It brings me joy.

On Mondays after school I do a little club called College Bound Math Club. I only have a few kids that come but my big reward is when students I had from two years ago come from the high school to get help. I have a crew that comes almost every week. It reminds me why I am a teacher, to make connections with students like these girls. Today a girl I haven't seen for awhile came. It was great. We sat in my room, working on a puzzle that I have in my room, talking, catching up and laughing. It was special and made my entire week.

Today was a day to celebrate. I really feel that I am taking a turn toward a new direction, one where I will quit beating myself up over shortcomings, where I will find more joy in the small things, where I look to find more balance, where I will laugh more.

Laughter can be difficult to find in this time of high stress, especially in the world of education. Everything seems to depend on "the test" and the times of having fun, enjoying class, and laughing seem to be of the past. I want to change that...I want to bring the joy of learning back. I want to bring the joy of teaching back.

One moment today that really brought me joy was a note that I gave to a student who I have enrolled in playing "The Game of Math." He has struggled all year and today I gave him a note that was his "Mission." The note read, "Your Mission: To continue the good work you started last week." As I was getting ready to teach, I noticed that he was giving me intense eye contact. Once I turned to him, he nodded in a serious fashion and then carefully folded the note and put it in his pocket. He worked all period and I feel that I am making inroads. I didn't laugh, but the smile that formed in my heart was immeasurable.

Laughter can bind people together. Think of times where you laughed so hard that you cried or that your stomach hurt from laughing. I love those times!

As I move forward, I am going to continue to seek times where laughter can come in. Deep, stomach churning laughter, face snorting laughter, or even just a giggle. My brother's laugh is what echos in my ear and my heart during those times...a sound that is definitely, to me, pure joy.


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