Your Purpose Is Not A Laughing Matter

by Terry Watson | March 22nd, 2021
Terry Watson - Editor

Terry Watson – Editor

A long time ago, when I was a much younger man, and a student at the most prestigious high school in the city of Greensboro, something happened to me that would change my life forever. This segment of time was during my fourth period English class, and the first week of a new school year.

Back then I was mischievous, very sarcastic, and a self-proclaimed ‘class clown’. I would try to set the tone for my classroom amongst my classmates with jokes, and I thought, the bigger the audience, the grander my performance could be. However, in this particular class, the teacher was a formidable opponent. She was short in stature, very elegant and full of finesse, and seemed to lock in on me like a torpedo before the tardy bell even sounded. Her name was Mrs. Kerr, and I would soon learn that she wasn’t one to play around.

One day while in English class, I began to get comfortable and execute my form of cheap humor. I led off with a cough, and a slight sneeze; silly acts that usually worked pretty well with getting my audience into position. But my act was snuffed out immediately. “Don’t you sneeze or cough in my classroom. Take that outside”. Those were the words spoken directly to me and I knew she was serious by the way she stared into my eyes. From that point on, I never laughed in her class unless I was led by her permission to do so. I must admit that my ego was a little bruised, but I would eventually get over it.

In so many words, she helped me to understand that my purpose is no laughing matter. I genuinely appreciate Mrs. Kerr because she helped me to also understand the English instruction she provided was not a laughing matter, and I or anyone else wouldn’t prevent the learning and growth of other students.

As the school year progressed, I began to look forward to my fourth period English class and spending time with Mrs. Kerr. I soaked up every bit of information that she had to offer, studied every poem, and recited them back to her with precision, and made it a point to show her that she changed my life by stopping me from robbing myself of sound instruction.

Mrs. Kerr obviously loved me and her other students, thousands of them she encountered of several decades of teaching. She is my hero. Students like me all deserve a hero such as Mrs. Kerr in their classrooms, either in the form of a peer or instructor. She helped me to understand that my purpose was no laughing matter.


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