So, two of my friends at school played a practical joke on me today (involving teachers being asked to move to different grade levels, including me). I laughed it off good-naturedly afterward (and they actually felt bad because I looked so concerned), but later, found myself thinking more about jokes, and particularly practical jokes.
And I think I'm not a really big fan of the practical joke. I know there are people who love them, whether they are the joker or the jokee (?), but I can't really get into them. Mostly because I feel like they're always at someone else's expense--that at the end, it's people laughing at you, instead of with you. Which is why I could never watch that Punk'd show--I always felt bad for the person getting Punk'd. I'd think, oh, they must feel so embarrassed or worried or angry, and then they would try to instantly change into (false?) heartiness.
We just had to deal with this in class today, too. One of my second graders got his feelings hurt because a few of the boys were joking around with him and then all of a sudden it didn't feel like a joke any more, it felt like teasing.
We all talked it out (I'm big on the "I" statements) and I reminded students that it's only a joke if everyone finds it funny. If someone is upset by it or gets their feelings hurt, then it's not really a joke anymore.
But I really knew how he felt, because for a split second, I had my feelings hurt this afternoon, until I realized that my friends would never make me feel bad on purpose. I think it might be a little early for my students to be able to have that realization.
I know this puts me farther down on the fun scale than many other people, but my Secret Garden-Father of the Bride-loving self just wants everyone to be happy!