Humor is good, right?

Sarcasm is so easy. It is fun to get a laugh. It certainly had a place in our home growing up and within my extended family too.

I brought it with me as a teacher in my classroom. Humor is good, right?

My embarrassment

What I didn't realize is that I was tearing apart the most important relationships that I had with my students.  I often thought that the better our relationship the more I could use sarcasm as a humor mechanism and it would be okay. But that meant I was hurting the students that were relying on me the most.

What I came to understand is that sarcasm comes at someone's expense. And even more, with the ever-growing emotional needs of our students, many students don't hear or understand sarcasm and are left in the dark. So what I thought of as bringing humor and connection into my classroom was actually doing the opposite.

So, unfortunately, what I learned, is that the better relationship I had in the fall with my students would often deteriorate by the spring. This was a tough lesson and it's hard to share with you. But that's why I must do it.

In no way would I ever want to hurt my students or allow them to feel left out of a common joke. And no way would I want to deteriorate the relationships that I work so hard to build up.

Learning a new way

The first time this came to my attention, was at a conference. and when they said this I realized all the harm I've been doing. And I have to admit the cutting it out of my classroom was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I had grown up with sarcasm it was valued as wit and smarts and if I was being completely honest I respected kids that could hand it right back.

But what I learned and how my classroom changed spoke for itself. My students begin to trust me more, my struggling students started to open up more, my room became a safe place for all students, not just ones with a quick wit.

So I have a challenge for you, do your best this week to cut sarcasm from your classroom and take note of the difference it makes and your students. I think you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was many years ago.

Want to learn more?

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