Is There a Place for Teasing & Sarcasm?
His across-the-board denouncement of teasing and sarcasm was not easily accepted by the class and examples were given of times when teasing and sarcasm were used in good humor, as a sign of affection and even as a way some people bond.
I understood what the professor was saying. I'd experienced times when I'd laughed while being teased when inside, I was trying not to cry. But I also had personal examples where sarcasm and teasing were done out of love--my family teased me about many things. Even though my grandpa was sarcastic, we knew he still loved us. I've been known to be pretty sarcastic and I sometimes tease. Sometimes my sarcasm is in the course of a debate or disagreement, but more often, I mean it in humor. Because it doesn't seem like an issue that can be classified as completely right or completely wrong, I haven't spent much time thinking about it. Until last week.
Last week my children started school. Joe, my child who loves school more than any of my children and has had perfect attendance the past three years, came home on the first day a little upset. He told me of a situation where the teacher, who had never met Joe before that day, singled him out, calling attention to him in a negative way because she "likes to embarrass kids." I asked him if she was joking and he said, "I don't know. I hope so." The second day was worse, with Joe being singled out again in a situation that caused him to sit at his desk, with his head down, crying. Twice. Not a comfortable position for a 6th grade boy.
As I've dealt with this situation, I've been told by more than one person that this teacher is sarcastic and likes to tease the children. That's why she chooses to teach the older elementary grades.
In fairness, I should say that the third and fourth days of school were great and Joe came home very happy. Were the first two days just his 6th grade hazing and now that that's over we can all move ahead?
But what about those first two days? And what about teasing and sarcasm? If you're prone to those behaviors, should there be some ground rules--there must be a certain level of familiarity or not with children younger than a certain age? Is there a place for it? Is this a chance for Joe to develop a thicker skin and is it a good thing?
Or is there no place for it?
Please tell me what you think. I'd really like your opinions.