sarcasm

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by teachingfran, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. teachingfran

    teachingfran Rookie

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    Jan 29, 2012

    Hey 5th grade teachers!

    Do any of you have a sarcastic humor?

    Well, let me ask you. If you overheard another teacher say this to a student would you think it is sarcastic?

    "Don't make this harder than it really is." If it was said just in a matter-of-fact way? Previous to this comment you had heard the teacher explain to them several time to use all the resources at their table and work as a group not an individual. They were doing a text feature scavenger hunt. They wanted to work individually but not all parts were in each book so they had to work together.

    Long story short...I was being observed for evaluation and the Principal stated that I was being sarcastic to the children. The last PLC we had an hour long conversation about it in our meeting. I felt like it was all directed to me since she had already put an article in my box.

    The strangest part to me is, I know I can be sarcastic, it's a big part of who I am. (defense mechanism learned as a child...hard habits to break) but I do try not to be sarcastic with the children although it has been hard in this classroom situation. Anyway, what do you think? Do you think that was sarcastic?

    I got a 2 out of 5 in that area and that is unsatisfactory. I had 2 of my evalutions already by the Assistant Principal and she gave me all 3s and a good balance of 4s. The unannounced was slightly lower but still 4s and 3s. With the Principal I got all 3s, 1 score of 2 and only 1 score of 4. Go figure!

    Have a great day!
     
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  3. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jan 29, 2012

    Hmmm, I love to joke around and make jokes and yes, I can be sarcastic, but that's ONLY once I get to know the students and they know me.

    If you say something sarcastic and the person doesn't know you very well, it's easy for it to come across more as mean.

    And, I know a lot of teachers on this forum do not accept or like any type of sarcasm in the classroom. Frankly, when I'm sarcastic, it's pretty darn obvious and I saw it with a smile and there's no anger behind it. But, like I said, I'm not sarcastic with my students until they really know me and I know them.

    ETA: the principal may feel that you could have worded it a bit more friendly. More like, "let's break this down and think about it. Or, "have you tried this way?" Or, "Have you asked your partner for help?" Whatever. Maybe he felt you weren't being helpful with your comment?
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I really don't think this was sarcastic, if it was, I don't see what the harm was.
     
  5. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I don't think it was necessarily sarcastic, but if I'm being honest I would be miffed if a teacher said that to my child because it gives the impression that the child is doing something wrong and that is why he/she isn't getting it.
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I warn my kids not to make my reading quizzes harder than they need to be because they LOVE to overthink questions!
     
  7. teachingfran

    teachingfran Rookie

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    Jan 30, 2012

    Wow, I certainly didn't mean they were doing something wrong. Of course, if you aren't in the exact situation it's easy to "judge" it was one way or another. But my whole point was to try first....as they do "overthink" and want to ask 20 million questions before they actually try it themselves. I guess often you know what you mean but the perception might be different. I just think sometimes we go looking for something we'll find it even in the most simple of comments.
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I don't see anything wrong with the comment at all. Sometimes kids do overthink problems or assignments, making them harder than they are. I understand the issue about 20 million questions too. Sometimes, they ask all these questions before even TRYING to figure out the assignment. I know the questions are one way they do try to figure out what to do, but if I've given clear directions (both verbally and written), they need to follow those first because I have given them everything they need to complete the assignment.

    iheartrecess - sometimes the child is doing something wrong that prevents them from "getting it". I've seen kids get a preconceived idea of what is being asked, instead of reading the actual directions. In those cases, they are doing something wrong that is going to make the assignment harder to do than it actually is.
     
  9. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Yeah I don't see a problem at all. I joked with my last classes alllll the time. I even did it when I was being observed and my principal LIKED it because it showed I had a good report with the kids.

    Who knows. I guess to each his own.
     
  10. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    My own child is a 7th grader. Her view of her language arts teacher is this: "He's really mean, Mom. I mean, he thinks he's being funny and the other kids laugh because they're supposed to...but the thing is that they don't really get that he's being mean to them. I do."

    Perhaps this is the kind of thing your principal wants you to avoid? Even one child feeling that way?
     
  11. teachingfran

    teachingfran Rookie

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    Jan 31, 2012

    I can understand if I said something like, you aren't really thinking if you don't get that. I really don't see that in what I said, I wasn't "joking" when I said it ... like I thought it was funny and they should have taken it that way. I really meant, they were overthinking what they had to do....thus making it difficult and all they had to do was write the page # down where they found the text feature and the title of the book. Thanks for the input everyone.
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    With all due respect to you child, if the teacher thinks he is being funny, then he obviously is not making the jokes to be mean.

    What does the teacher say that shows he is really being mean towards the class?
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The point is not that the teacher is being intentionally mean. The point is that the child perceives it that way. Our job means we must take care to ensure every child feels safe and cared for in our class. That's why sometimes we have to recognize the venue of where we are and realize that children see things from a different lenses.

    Even as adults our humor can be misconstrued by different parties. I had an incident this past weekend where two really nice guys were joking on their off time and while I saw them as being funny and they were having a good time with it, one of the ladies in the group did not appreciate the humor and told them so. They were nice enough to acknowledge and stop the line of banter. The difference is, that is an adult situation on their off time. This are children under our care and we have a position of authority over them. They should feel safe in our classroom and not uneasy. They are not always going to tell you. It's important to be aware of the type of humor you use and acknowledge that some humor won't be received the same by everyone. Thus that kind is best left out of the classroom.

    This is not directed at the Op's situation but generality over the care of using sarcastic humor in the classroom and children's varying degrees of responses to that. Both the child that thinks the teacher is funny and the child who thinks the teacher is mean are valid in their feelings and reactions. Humor works best when the audience is considered. In the classroom we may not always know what every child in the audience is thinking. In this business, we can't just dismiss it.

    That doesn't mean the classroom has to be devoid of humor. Humor is an important tool. But we do have to really think about the type of humor we use and the things we say.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    That's a fair point, cNg, but since ANY form of humor has the potential to be misconstrued by at least one person in the room, the argument could then be made that humor should never be used in order to avoid being insensitive to the feelings of every child.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jan 31, 2012

    Countless times, with my first graders, a student has said something, then I've made a joke about something unrelated, and the students laughed and the one student started crying because they thought the class was laughing at them.
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Hmm... I disagree. Humor involving people and situations, even in a light-hearted way, is vastly different than enjoying the nonsense words of Dr. Suess or a Shel Silverstein Poem like "Ickle Me Pickle Me Tickle Me Too." Reading a book about raining spaghettis and meatballs would also lend to some humor and fantasy discussions without directly involving something that occurred in the classroom. How about some of those cute picture prompts such as a cat that looks like he is driving. There are all kinds of ways to involve humor that are less likely to be misconstrued.

    I'm not saying I've never done it. We are human. I'm just saying it bears consideration. What we say and do can have reactions we didn't intend.
     
  17. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    He calls kids "losers" and "'retards." The loser is with the matching L made out of fingers on his forehead, and the retard comment is made with an open mouthed moaning voice and a "dumb" laugh. Apparantly, the kids laugh. But not the kid being made fun of.

    He pulled his pants up around his armpits one day and walked around closely behind a somewhat nerdy boy, imitating him in the hallway.

    I have many, many more stories. These aren't the crux of his instruction. He actually has been a great teacher - my daughter has learned quite a lot in that class and is challenged. But he's mean. And how he keeps control is by keeping everyone wondering who his next victim is going to be.
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This isn't sarcasm; it's bullying.
     
  19. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    No, I don't think your comment was sarcastic. I have seen 5th grade and upper grade teachers go overboard on sarcasm. I rarely use sarcasm with my students, but I have on a few occasions. It can work with 5th grade, but it can also do more harm than good. I think your principal is either overreacting or is referring to a different situation in the classroom.
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I agree completely. That isn't humor or sarcasm at all. That is outright bullying. You child is right. The teacher IS just being mean.

    I normally would not suggest this, but maybe your daughter should take a video of his actions for you to present to administration. It doesn't matter if he is a great teacher, this behavior and actions should not be tolerated in the classroom for any reason.
     
  21. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    kimrandy, that's just terrible. I'm a big user of humor but will never personally attack people. I second Cerek's video idea.
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't think a video is necessary but I do support talking with administration.
     
  23. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I agree completely with CutNglue. Set up a meeting with administration ASAP for the good of those students.

    Be careful with video. Going around filming people without their will is border line illegal and some can really be upset if you do this in a school setting. You have the truth on your side. I agree with CutNGlue--a video is not necessary.
     
  24. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Oh, I've already met with the admin...who seems aware of the issue and has the teacher working with a mentor on more appropriate ways to control the class. Stories about this teacher started coming home on the 2nd day of school....and kids we know in other periods of the same class have similar stories. I even saw some of it during parent observation day in November...the teacher really, honestly, does not see that what he's doing is wrong or inappropriate. He told the admin that he has a great rapport with the kids...that he can talk their language. ARGH. It's been a challenging year, one of many reasons I've stayed away from this site for so long. I'm to emotionally drained to be helpful to anyone else...

    I'd have her pulled from the class and put in another section, but this is the ONLY teacher to teach honors 7th grade LA. She'd have to drop a level.
     
  25. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I agree the video suggestion is walking a very thin line on a slippery slope, which is why I normally would NOT suggest it. But if admin is aware of the teachers' behavior and has allowed it to continue (which they obviously have), then it is time to take the issue to the next level, in my personal opinion.

    I had a teacher in Jr. High that did things to the kids that would NEVER be tolerated now. He would be fired within the first two weeks, but this was back in 1976 and admin just overlooked his actions. He was also a great teacher - one of my favorites, in fact - but that still doesn't excuse some of the things he did in class.

    I think the school would have a pretty tough time charging the student or parent with libel once the video was shown to the public. ANY actions taken by admin to protect the teacher in that case will result in public outcries of "cover-up" and bring unwanted heat on the admins themselves. When it comes down to them or the teacher losing their job, you can bet the teacher will be the one released from service.

    As I said, I don't normally condone such an approach, but the sheer audacity of his actions need to be documented. Remember the PE teacher that attacked a classroom bully in Houston? Without the video, she could have easily downplayed the level of her anger and actions. With the video, she simply had no reasonable defense for her actions.
     

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