• 46°

Larry Efird: A time to laugh …

Writer

Larry Efird teaches at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis.

Teaching is serious business. But it can also be funny. Teachers need to laugh — often and hard. Some would say they need a drink, but since I don’t like alcohol, my beverage of choice is Dr. Pepper. It seems to do the trick for me.

I remember a day that could not have gone worse, and I had no choice but to make a parent phone call. (Principals will tell you contacting a parent should be the first response, not the last, but sometimes we teachers have to learn the hard way.) After getting the right number, because the first two or three numbers I tried didn’t work (of course), I finally got the mom’s place of employment. I didn’t know it was her work number, and after the call went through, I was connected to a recording (of course) which asked me to select the department I would like to be connected with.

The very first option was, “If you need mental health, press one.” I hadn’t thought about needing mental health up until that moment, but it certainly sounded like a good choice. I quickly recovered my wits and made the selection for the operator so I could give her the name of the person I needed. Because the mental health selection made me laugh, when I did get to talk to the mother, I was not aggravated, but actually in a good frame of mind so I could have a decent conversation with her about her child’s “attitude” which had been on display in my class for several consecutive days.

Another time a student asked me what kind of day I was having, and I thanked him, but also commented how tired I was feeling from not having slept well the night before. He said with a genuinely concerned expression on his face, “Well, now that you mentioned it, you do have some big black circles under your eyes.” I wanted to say, “Thanks for making me feel better,” but I couldn’t help but laugh because he was just trying to be nice.

We as teachers have a hard time letting go and letting up sometimes. We can think the entire success of our school and the preparation of the entire next generation depends upon how well we can prepare them for their EOCs or state final exams. We want every student to love learning and make responsible choices. We want the work we do to have immediate results and rewards, but we know we’re in the wrong profession for that.

I also got a chuckle last fall when my paycheck was $300 higher than usual one month. (Why is it that without fail I secretly always hope my check will be for more each month when I know exactly beforehand what it will be to the penny?) Well, that fantasy came true for me, and then I suddenly realized that was the equivalent of my entire pay raise for the entire year. I’m one of the veteran teachers who has taught too long to get a raise. That’s also something that makes teachers laugh, but it’s really not that funny.

My first thought was to use all that extra cash to pay for the “$300 Band-Aid” I had gotten at the emergency room a few weeks before. I also wondered if I could use the $300 dollars to pay for some new textbooks for my AP class, but that would only have bought three books, so I needed another $2,700 to pull that off. (I don’t plan on teaching nine more years, so that turned out to be a bad idea.)

I’m glad I can work with happy people who understand that staying angry all the time isn’t going to make us feel better. I’m also glad I work with people who love kids and who take time to laugh when the teacher tears start to fall.

The Book of Ecclesiastes wisely says, “There’s a time to laugh and a time to cry.” When I can choose to laugh, I know I’ll be okay. But I might have to cry first — while I’m reaching for a Dr. Pepper.

Larry Efird teaches at A.L.Brown High School.

Comments

Crime

Salisbury Police chief addresses K-9 video, says officer separated from animal

Local

Rowan Rescue Squad sets record straight on fundraising typo

Local

City approves DOT agreement, Salisbury Station project could begin next year

Local

County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem

Education

Two weeks after ending enhanced protocols, Catawba has no COVID-19 cases

News

Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan

Local

Veto override of NC school reopening bill fails in Senate

News

Political Notebook: Majority of likely voters, local legislators support school reopening bill

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic

Crime

Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call

Lifestyle

Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures

Crime

Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being found passed out in vehicle

Ask Us

Ask Us: What programs exist for litter cleanup?

Business

County begins accepting restaurant grant applications

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with nine more felony sex offenses

Nation/World

Biden team readies wider economic package after virus relief

Nation/World

Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings

Nation/World

Cuomo sorry for remarks aide ‘misinterpreted’ as harassment

Nation/World

Trump calls for GOP unity, repeats lies about election loss

Education

Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators

Crime

Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police

Local

Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies

Business

After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status

Lifestyle

39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual