Friday, October 1, 2010

A non-humorous post about humor

I wrote a post yesterday that I found to be very amusing.  (Those of you who use feeds can probably see it.)And then I felt sick. 

I had trouble figuring out why.  As I thought about it throughout the day, I realized it was because of a joke I made about a student.  It was not a nice joke.  But it made me laugh--it was probably my favorite part of the post.

Now, I'm no dummy.  I've seen enough horror stories out there about bloggers losing their jobs or whatever because of posting idiotic things.  To avoid this, I had decided to write about the incident (it was about a student I knew from teaching a few years ago saying hi to me, and me realizing with a thud that my middle school students from my first years of teaching are now entering college) but I also decided to completely change the identity of the student.  I even changed the student's gender, because I didn't want this student to ever see it and be like "wait, that's me.  I remember that.  Now I'm very, very sad and want to kill myself."

I only wish I were being hyperbolic in that last sentence.  But I'm not.  Truth is, I've been at school working with the kids for less than a month, and I've already had two legitimately suicidal kids in my office one of whom had recently attempted, which heightens the likelihood of later attempts dramatically.  (That student is doing much better.)

I'm doing everything I can to support these kids--to boost their sometimes tragically low self-esteems, and to help them believe in themselves.  To help them rebuild after trauma--help when they've experienced things most people can scarcely imagine.  I'm so careful to say all the right things to get them to see the awesomeness that I can see in them as they sit across from me, to make them feel comfortable in my office, and to maybe give them a space where they can come and not feel judged or criticized or crapped on or abused or whatever else. 

And then, to think I would turn around and write something offensive about a kid on my blog just for laughs?  For my own entertainment?  Yeah.  No wonder I couldn't get that sick feeling out of the pit of my stomach.  A little vile, Josh.  Shame on you.

So, I took that one down, and I'm realizing that there are some boundaries that I'm not going to cross.  This is a good thing, I guess. 

Part of why I'm attracted to writing comedically on my blog anyway is because of my work. Things get heavy up in that joint. I spend my day talking about abuse and trauma and secrets and drugs and really, really bad things with people who are a mere eight years older than my four-year-old daughter. So, I'm attracted the idea of writing funny stuff (or at least what I consider funny) as a counterpoint, I think.

I had hoped that I wouldn't get all meta-bloggy now that I had put a moratorium on my ADHD melodrama. But, turns out I can't help myself.

Here's the bottom line.  I'm not going to make fun of kids.  Ever.  And contrary to what I flippantly said in yesterday's post, it's not for myself or my own protection.  It's for them. 

(I will now humbly bow while all three of my readers do a slow-clap that intensifies into a very weak and awkward applause...)

3 comments:

  1. I was wondering why you took that post down. Loved your last comment about all three readers doing a slow clap. As I type this, I see that your follwers box has 16 people in it, and I'm sure many more who didn't officially sign up to follow. It was still pretty funny though.

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  2. Hello, I just recently started reading your blog. I want to say that as a teacher, this post tore at my heartstrings because I understand. I work in an impoverished area where my kids routinely face horrors, and in order to keep my sanity I do find hilarity in my job. It's a survival skill. I have struggled to see the humor I need in their daily foibles and triumphs without belittling the very real problems my students face. I don't know if it makes you feel any better to know you're not the only one (this post is about two years old, so I'm sure you're more used to the balancing act now) but it made me feel better to see someone else struggle with the same issue.

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