Remembering the Class Clowns
You remember him or her - usually a him, because most class clowns are boys. To him, the classroom was a stage, and he was the main attraction. He was the kid in class who was an up-and-coming Jay Leno. Always able to turn any situation into a joke, he was very popular with his peers. He was so revered for his sense of humor and his quick wit that even some of his teachers often appreciated the levity that he could bring to a dull and boring subject. But then, there was the class clown who was not funny, who was disruptive to the class and teacher, and who was not liked or respected by his classmates.
Some teachers would try to steer the talents of the class clown into constructive activities within the classroom by giving him a starring role in classroom skits and simulations. When he injected some humor into classroom discussions without being too disruptive, these teachers laughed at his humor along with the other students. They let him know that they recognized his special talent and honored it as being a vital part of that delicately balanced ecosystem that is the school classroom.
Now, for the class clown who was a disruptive influence in the classroom - you know, the one who made fart noises in the back of the classroom while the teacher was attempting to engage the class is the discussion of a serious topic; the one who whispered a one-liner that cracked up the back row; the one who bounced a wad of paper off the back of the head of another student; the one who answered a teacher’s question in a falsetto voice that elicited giggles from the other students. Whatever it was, it' was inappropriate, disruptive, and infuriating. And sometimes, it was probably funny as hell. His jokes and stunts had nothing to do with the subject matter in the classroom. This child was seriously in need of professional help. According to child psychologists, this kid, who suffered from low self-esteem, was trying to win the positive feedback of his peers with his antics; and when he didn’t get it, he overcompensated by becoming the class clown.
Class clowns often show great leadership qualities. The story is told of a class clown who, when the teacher left the classroom for just a moment, organized all the students to stand up at their desks when she returned. When the teacher entered the classroom, she saw all the students standing at their desks and asked them to sit down. They remained standing. The teacher said, “Alright, if you want to play that game, you can stand there in silence for the rest of the period." Suddenly, upon cue, all of the boys began heavy breathing and continued it until the teacher went absolutely bonkers.
The antics of some class clowns border more on mischief. One time, a kid took a photo with his camera phone of a teacher who had dozed off in class while the students were meant to be doing an assignment. He later posted the picture on the web. Another student put Super Glue on the blackboard duster so that it became all but welded to the teacher's palm. Then there was the kid noted for his "machine-gun spit.” Those students who witnessed it said it was quite impressive. This kid could deliver 30 globules of spit in 15 seconds. Students knew better than to get him angry with them, because they knew he would give them the famous “machine-gun spit.”
Some famous comedians who were once class clowns include Jim Carrey, Janeane Garofalo, Henry “the Fonz” Winkler, and George Carlin. In fact, George Carlin even recorded an album called “Class Clown.”
If Socrates were alive today and teaching in some of our schools with these class clowns, he would gladly drink the hemlock.
Video. George Carlin - Class Clown (1972)
QUESTION OF THE DAY: If you or any of your classmates were class clowns, what were some of the things you did to drive your teachers to want to retire early?