Yesterday morning I picked up Gary Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars to reread on my way to work, as my Kindle was charging so the PG Wodehouse I was in the middle of (Damsel in Distress) was temporarily unavailable. On page 80, seventh-grade teacher Mrs. Baker makes a joke and the protagonist, Holling Hoodhood, says,
That was a teacher joke. No one laughed, though we were all supposed to. No one ever laughs at teacher jokes.
So true, even when it comes to university-level teaching. My students will perhaps weakly smile at one of my jokes, but if I even attempt to use sarcasm or irony or anything like that on them, they just look at me. And although I don’t exactly feel like an awesome teacher when I make a point and they look at me all confused, it’s vastly preferable to those blank, slightly pitying looks.
At that point, I tend to go write something on the blackboard and tell myself it’s not me, it’s them and their underdeveloped sense of humor. Please don’t tell me otherwise.