Do you use Sarcasm?

Who? Me? Never…

I can only assume I started using sarcasm in primary school, and only because that’s where I learnt hitting people wasn’t ‘nice’. Even if they deserved it.

So I reserved the right to roll my eyes, make a cutting remark or sneer in derision. That’s actually where the word ‘sarcasm’ comes from – the Greek verb Sarkazein which meant ‘to tear flesh like a dog’, before evolving to mean ‘gnash one’s teeth’ or ‘to sneer’. Look it up. 

So I wasn’t so much taming my bad mood, as replacing my armoury. I’m trying to pinpoint a particular time I was sarcastic that doesn’t (out of context certainly) make me look like a massive bitch. It’s proving tricky.

I know when I started at one of the schools I taught at, I was told not to use sarcasm with any of my students. And I thought, in that moment, ‘that’s half my teaching practice – what am I going to do?’ The headmaster insisted that I shouldn’t use sarcasm because the student’s ‘didn’t understand it’. But if I was using sarcasm since primary school, these secondary school kids should surely recognise it?

I think there’s an intrinsic honesty to sarcasm that students can appreciate. Maybe not when it’s directed at them, but on the whole. But I do agree there’s a time and place for it. Responding ‘yeahhhhh…’ when a student asked if he was my favourite student is one thing. Responding ‘Nooo…’ when asked if you went drinking at the weekend would be different.

But I’m a very sarcastic person – because it amuses me – but I’m also (some would argue blindly) optimistic. And when I say ‘you can do it!’ sometimes I’d get looks from my students questioning whether I was being sarcastic or not. Which is fair. They get a constant stream of critique; from teachers, parents and their peers. But the way I see it, if I’m an intrinsically sarcastic person, but even I think this praise is warranted, it must be.

Also – and thank you Smithsonian for this tidbit of support for my continued use of sarcasm – being able to recognise sarcasm is a sign of a strong creative mind, able to problem solve quickly and more efficiently. So to anyone I’ve been sarcastic with, you’re welcome.

Do you use sarcasm? Let me know, and like and follow!

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