Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Get Smart

His words tore the flesh from the students like an emaciated zombie exposing muscle and bone to infection, and insuring almost certain death. At this point the teacher thought to himself, “Maybe sarcasm isn’t the best way to reach the students.” At the very least sarcasm as defined by its archaic Greek roots, to tear the flesh, should only be used in the direst life and death situations.

In his defense, however, I would like to point out that a synonym for sarcasm is wit. In fact often immediately following a sarcastic comment the recipient will reply, “Don’t get smart with me.”

At this point I am forced to feign ignorance and respond, “But isn’t that the point of school.”

Recently I discovered that this particular argumentative tactic can be described as Socratic irony, and since the district repeatedly suggests that we use Socratic methods I feel that it is my duty to be Socratically Ironic.

Wit is also a synonym for irony and facetiousness. Irony forms the backbone of satire, a respected literary form and facetiousness merely means to be humorous or funny. Again two traits that are perfect for the classroom. Satire exists in order to bring about social change; a teacher is an agent of change. The ability to not take things seriously also helps a teacher maintain his sanity. When I find my self at wits end, humor manages to extend it just enough for me to make it through the day.

Wit defines an entire class of characters in world mythology and folklore, the trickster.
The Norse god Loki invented the fishing net; Prometheus stole fire from the gods; and Anansi brought stories to the world. Tricksters reside in the heart of who we are. Our technology and imagination sets us apart from the rest of the animal world (and hopefully the vegetable one as well).

So in the tradition of Socrates, Eshu, and Bugs Bunny I will keep my wits about me and share them whenever necessary..

No comments: