Archive for December, 2010

56. PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE week #2, R.C. pt. I, READER COMMENT/TWP RESONSE & YOUR FAQ’S

December 30, 2010

THANK YOU DEAR READERS: We at TWP are thrilled to report that our little blog has topped 25,500 total views since it’s inception one year ago. We never thought this blog would even be around that long -Much less attain a viewership in the 10,000’s. For making TWP one of the top blogs in the wordpress community of blogs, we PROMISE to continue to do our best in bringing to you, our loyal readers, the teacher perspective on the difficult issue of school c.p. in a fair and balanced way.

MEMO TO “MICHAEL”: We at TWP certainly invite you and ALL interested readers to send us your comments and we will post them or answer any questions you or they might have. Due to space limitations, TWP does edit and choose parts of what readers send us. Michael, part of your story is at the end of this post as is our response.

Dear Readers: As the school year moves into it’s second week, you would think things might start to calm down somewhat. Noooooooo way! I (Renee) seriously thought it would get easier after the first week but my recounting of week two should dispel that idea! I am already getting complaints from teachers, parents, my boss (Head Principal) and students (No surprise there). The teachers must think I am supposed to be chained to a desk in the front office or something because several have questioned why I patrol the halls so much. My answer: Because I consider it a part of my job! Also, I suspect that a few teachers are ticked off that they have to moniter the halls between class times as well. Another possibility is that when teachers have a free period, they are to “babysit” the In School Suspension classes on a rotating basis. In addition, parents call me to complain that I am picking on their darling little angels. (What are they going to do when their darling little angels grow up?) And of course the students gripe that we educators have a personal bias against them. (Hey, 95% of the students seem to stay out of trouble so what’s the deal?) And finally, Mr. Jones, the Head Principal, made me promise not to barge into the boy’s gym locker room looking for the coaches ever again! (He smirked when talking to me so I was NEVER in Real TROUBLE) That episode was settled and the coaches are on notice that when I wish to see them -They are to report to my office ASAP!

Apart from that, here is my week in review highlights:

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE no.1

MONDAY: Started with the usual hubbub about tardiness and the SAME students hanging around outside instead of heading to class on time. Always the same ones! Answer: No hanging out outside the building before school…Period! (If you could only hear the whinning from the students about that change!) The usual with parent conferences: My dear …. wouldn’t do THAT!” or “I think you are too strict…” I always reply that 95% of the students do just fine with the rules. If you could only see how the eyes of my former students perk up as I walk the hallways. None of those have been in trouble…yet anyway!

TUESDAY: Well, it finally happened…a paddling of two 13 year olds for fighting. They were already in I.S.S. for nearly starting a fight last week. One of the coaches did the honors after I talked to the parents. Both got 3 swats from the Cheryl/Kaye paddle (See last post) and the male coach started to complain about the adequacy of that paddle. That teacher/coach misses “his paddle.” Tough! Everything went according to policy and two sorry 13 year olds went straight back to I.S.S. where they will be through tomorrow. Hey, I insisted on a single-handed grip of the paddle AND a 90 degree arc. But two rear ends still ended up sore for a while.

WEDNESDAY: Today, I had the (dis)pleasure of having a conference with a parent who is fearful that if her daughter has to attend I.S.S., then she will be removed from the cheerleader team. The young lady was caught smoking outside before school. At 14, this girl has bigger problems than her status on the team. My decision: I.S.S. for our 8th grade smoker and if that means no cheerleading -Deal with it! I will not overrule the cheerleader team coordinator’s rules. (Note: Miss Smoker WILL miss football season cheerleading but can try out for basketball cheerleader -If she stays out of trouble) Most conferences are by phone and breaks down this way: 50% Understand/Support school, 35% State of Denial/Clueless, 15% Backup Child vs. School. All my numbers are approximate based on over 100 calls since start of school year. (Still think administrators are overpaid?)

THURSDAY: I happened to be at the high school next door this a.m. on an errand and “Greg” of RENEE’S HALLOWEEN (and first) PADDLING fame saw me. The very big (280 pounds) senior and highly recruited future college football player gave me a hug when he saw me. A very big hug! Lifted me off my feet! (HA HA) I then quickly reminded him that I was still a staff member AND TO PUT ME DOWN! The “rhino” of our high school football team is still a boy but in a mega-sized man’s body. He told me that I am still his FAVORITE TEACHER of all time. After hearing that, it made all the other frustrations of my job seem worth it!

FRIDAY: My favorite school-day -Wonder why? Well, my optimism about the behavior of former students of mine took a hit today. One of the boys that I’d taught several years ago was caught with tobacco products. He was at my office and tried to talk his way out of trouble -But no dice! He will sit in I.S.S. for two days…no if’s, and’s, but’s or or’s. Said student will be joined by two others who tried a hallway version of “wrestle-mania”! Good grief! Both culprits claimed it was all just “playing around.” My reply: Play around on your own time -Not school time or in the halls. Actually, student conduct is showing a little improvement over the same time last year but it is still early and we will know more in a month. Stay tuned!

 

RENEE CHRONICLES pt.I

First thing, let me make clear that this is NOT my autobiography. Why? Because a bio would be boring and I do not wish to lose readers. But the idea for this segment came from my own summer leisure reading. What the chronicles are about is my life experiences and how they influenced me later in life. It is my goal to post four segments of the RENEE CHRONICLES and after that…who knows? If the chronicles “bomb out,” that’s o.k. -I can handle reader criticism. If the reviews are poor, the chronicles will be discontinued. I only ask that readers give this a chance.

Beginnings

I was born in North Carolina in a town I hardly recognize anymore. The year was 1979: The Iran Hostage Crisis was hot as was disco, Jimmy Carter was not and Bruce Springsteen was the next big thing. At least to my mom. My earliest memories are of sitting on the back porch wishing the rain would stop so I could get in my “kiddie pool.” I was probably three or four because my mom played a new record one rainy afternoon titled “Born In The U.S.A.” I guess I was bored or cranky and my mom did not believe the t.v. was a good choice as a “babysitter.” I feel the same way as a mom today and the tune of that song always brings pleasant childhood memories back. Conversely, I really feel for those who can only see their childhood negatively.

Mom and Dad

There is not much to tell except that both of my parents were the first in their families to graduate from college. My mom was the bookish girl in her family and it paid off with an academic grant that made the difference in her getting to go to college and graduating with a degree in Library Science. My dad had a more round-about way to college -The U.S. Army. Also, that route went not in a straight line but rather, veered 1,000’s of miles away to a place we know as Vietnam. He would serve a tour of duty in the late 60s in McNamara’s War (As daddy calls the Vietnam War) before a honorable discharge and the G.I. bill sent him to college. The same college momma was attending! They were from the same county but never met until a blind date set up by mutual friends. Incredible huh? Well, they dated and after finishing college -They married in the early 70s. Then came along my three older brothers…and then…ME!

Baby of the Family

Being the “baby of the family” has its pluses and minuses. As the “baby”, you are sheltered more and even smothered. Hey, my big brothers sheltered me like redwood trees. But the downside is that until years later in high school, I was overshadowed by my older siblings and in school seemed to always be though of as “….’s little sister.” And the worst was that big brothers did NOT like little sis hanging around when they had their friends over. (One day, my brothers tied nosy little me to a tree! When my friends were visiting, I would have loved to tie them to a tree but they were all too big for little me!)

So, when I hear kids in my class complain about their siblings, I have empathy because I too had ups and downs with my own siblings. Brainstorm: I wonder how it would work out if my three sisters-in-law and I conspired to tie our husbands to a tree at the next family reunion. Hummmm…

 

READER COMMENT/TWP RESPONSE

The following is part of an email from a Michael, one of our international readers. What he told us was shocking to us and our response reflects that.

I had the misfortune to have a Nun teaching the class. Every Monday morning we were asked the same question-who didn’t attend Mass. My family weren’t practicing Catholics and religion was not a topic in our household. We all had our own thoughts but never discussed them.

Every week boys and girls who missed Mass were told to stand out the front of the class and the Sister would go along the line asking each person for their excuse. If the excuse sounded reasonable, the Sister would tell the student to go back to their seat. Those left were given two to three strokes of the strap.

I never told my parents about this little tradition and in hindsight I now feel I should have because it was not my fault my family didn’t go to Mass. My parents felt that there were just as good Catholics who didn’t go than those who did.

That is the WORST thing we at TWP have ever heard. Absolutely appalling! As far as the contributors of this blog are concerned -That so-called “nun” is NO educator at all but rather; a child abuser -Nothing more, nothing less!

One of our contributors wished to add her own comments:

As a devout Catholic myself, I was horrified by what was told in the email. Michael, please DO NOT walk away from the faith based on a few “bad actors.” Promise me that you will seek counseling and pastoral care for what was done to you. I would not want to be in that “nun’s” shoes when she has to answer to God for what she did! (By her request, all of the TWP contributors agreed that she would not give her name with her statement.)

 

YOUR FAQ’s

On a recent post, it was mentioned that the contributors like different types of music. What are the favorite singers/groups of the TWP contributors?

Reader must be referring to those “summer carpools” we use when going to our evening graduate classes. Here the most heard CD music along with speeding ticket tallies per contributor.

RENEE: Garth Brooks/ Travis Tritt (1) Hey, I swear that radar was WRONG!

JENNY: U2 (None! Nah Nah!)

WENDY: Bon Jovi (2 -Both times we were running late!)

MICHELLE: Billy Cyrus (None!) Memo to all: We at TWP count 1 but Michelle was actually able to TALK her way out of it!

How often do students who are paddled cry? How do y’all feel about that?

Being elementary age kids, they DO tend to cry a little, especially since the paddling ALWAYS takes place away from the classroom. This is the absolute worst part of giving a paddling. We give lite to moderate swats and the tears, in our opinion, are the result of shame, embarrassment and/or humiliation much more than the initial sting. That lasts for minutes and is gone a short while later. Even then, it is a “bad” day for us and we feel “blue” about it regardless of how merited the paddling was.

How is using a paddle on children supposed to create an “aura”?

We had to look that one up!

In our post AWARD WINNERS, there is a commentary by TWP that talks about creating an “aura” in which the students clearly see a DISTINCTION between themselves and their teacher(s). This is healthy for both and is not supposed to be a “we versus they” mindset. The use of c.p. is not directly mentioned in that commentary.

How is Wendy and is she coming back this school year?

We thought that question was answered a few posts ago.

Wendy is fine and will be back to running 5k road races later this fall. She is LOVING the “motherhood” role and we will really have to cajole her to contribute to this blog. As to returning to the classroom -She is in NO hurry whatsoever and will be teaching again by August 2010. (Her lawyer-hubby’s firm is doing very well Wendy tells us so no $$$ trouble as far as we know. )

COMING NEXT: PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE week #3,

R.C. pt. II

&

TEACHER FEATURE: MICHELLE PADDLES A “FLIRT”