Let’s talk about sarcasm – specifically sarcasm in the classroom. There’s been some online chat about whether sarcasm is appropriate in the classroom. I’d like to share my stance on it today.
My Sarcasm Background
I was raised in a family of smart alecks. Typically the comments we make to one another in my family are not meant to be hurtful, but just funny. Granted there is a fine line between the two, but I think there is a definite difference between them as well.
This type of humor is what my family is all about. Occasionally we say something that is obviously not the smartest comment we’ve ever made. However, our family members will point this out in a witty manner, and everyone will enjoy a good laugh. We were often sarcastic about various situations as well, so it wasn’t always directed at people.
Sarcasm in the Classroom?
Does humor like this belong in the classroom? Some say no. I would say yes, but only after you know your students well and know where to draw the line.
If you choose to use sarcasm in the classroom, you must use caution. Don’t make any comments that might be taken the wrong way. Make sure your face shows that you are kidding. Know your students well and know when you’ve crossed the line (which hopefully won’t happen!) Also – it is always best to keep the sarcastic comments – if you choose to use them – about yourself or a situation. I never make sarcastic comments about students.
Sarcasm isn’t for everyone. As I stated earlier in this post, I grew up with it. I know the difference between joking around and crossing the line! (And on the few occasions that I don’t, I’ve apologized profusely right away!)
Another Sarcasm Perspective
One last thought on sarcasm… A veteran speech-language pathologist I worked with told me that every child needs to learn sarcasm. It occurs often in the workplace, and students need to be exposed to it in school.
I had never thought of sarcasm that way, but she has a point. There are sarcastic people everywhere. Sometimes they are rude, but sometimes they use sarcasm in a fun manner. Students need to know the difference. As teachers, we can teach them this life lesson in the safety of the classroom.
Enough of my rambling thoughts. What do you think of sarcasm? Do you use it in your classroom or are you completely against it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!