the last time I put on the purple bracelet, if you're serious about changing a habit, there's nothing quite like having a class full of teenagers to hold you accountable.
Within 90 seconds of explaining the "Complaint-Free" challenge to my morning English II students, I heard an all-too-eager voice gleefully asking, "Mrs. G? Is that sarcasm I hear?"
(Sarcasm isn't officially part of the "Complaint-Free" system. The class of '09 voted it a special requirement for Mrs. G because they thought I was getting away with waaaaay too much complaining and criticism wittily (my term) / craftily (their word) disguised as sarcasm.)
The English II students left and English IV entered, so I had a few minutes of safety. I was enjoying the exchange of "lively banter" (my term) with one of my more argumentative seniors when I heard a voice behind me, "Mrs. G? Is that sarcasm again?" Drat. One of my English II students had lingered, just in case I slipped.
I got "caught" twice after explaining the challenge to English IV: Once when I opened my mouth and an oh-so-typically flippant remark flew out (I simply promised that students who fail to complete a major assignment are going to find me their "new best friend" -- that's hyperbole, a sophisticated use of literary devices in conversation!) And immediately after that, when I "complained" (their word) about how difficult these 30 days are going to be.
By the end of the day, my bracelet had switched arms 7 times. Which means that I owe $7.00 to Emily Burriss's fundraiser for St. Jude's. When she hits $1,000 she's going to have her gorgeous brunette hair shaved off and donated to Locks for Love. One of my seniors (the argumentative one) cheerfully asked if he should personally warn Pastor G that "You guys are gonna be broke before the end of the month!"
But I'm actually not nearly as worried about the money as I am about...well...my identity. Who am I without sarcasm? I "only" lost $7.00 yesterday because I pretty much quit talking. 30 days of Silent Cheri, and Daniel's going to feel like he's won the lottery regardless of our bank balance! (Okay, I'm up to $8.00...yes, Emily, I'm writing it down so I don't "forget" it...oops...$9.00...)
One reason I enjoy sarcasm is because I love playing with words and seeing what can be done with them. I feel positively brilliant when I come up with a good turn of the phrase. To some degree, sarcasm is my way of "showing off" to my students, "Yes, I am qualified to teach English; after all, see how masterfully I manipulate words?"
Or perhaps I have 30 days to learn new ways to do one...and to realize that I don't need to do the other.