I try to use humor in my classroom to keep things fun. I find I can sometimes defuse situations by joking around.
One of my students challenged me with this a few months ago. He wanted to know why I could tease people and he couldn't.
This question must have been bubbling around in the back of my brain for awhile, because this week I got my answer.
I was volunteering at church with another family and I was teasing the eight-year-old about jobs I was going to have him do. His four-year-old sister said, "You can't tease me."
"I'm going to have you mop all the floors," I told her. She giggled. She was included in the game.
That's my answer. If the teasing is fun for everyone, it can be a way to pay attention to someone and show affection. The little sister wanted to be included in the game I was playing with her brother.
My student, on the other hand, tends to tease in a mean-spirited disrespectful way. The jokes are not agreed upon by everyone.
If giver and receiver don't agree to a nickname, it's simply namecalling.