101. GUEST EDITORIAL, RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. II & MICHELLE’S FIRST DAY ANNOUNCEMENT

WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS UP: Once again, California shows everyone why it is the land of “fruits and nuts.” Well, REAL fruits and nuts are inexpensive but the newly built Robert F. Kennedy High School in Los Angeles wasn’t. L.A.’s newest school building cost nearly $600 million! Aside from the fact that this money, from a construction bond issue, could NOT go for hiring more teachers -Why not “spread the wealth” and refurbish many school buildings in that district instead? In my own district, that $$$ would have built all new schools with plenty left over to give generous pay raises and hire more teachers. (Hey folks, these morons on the West coast just THINK they are smarter than everyone else!

MEMO TO RONNIE S.: No…At the elementary school where Jenny and Michelle teach (And where Wendy and I used to teach), there has never been a paddling given to a girl by the four of us. The middle school has been another case for me (Renee), however. Just review last year’s PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE segments. As to other teachers and school c.p., that falls outside the scope of this blog and the four of us chose at the start to just cover what we do only.

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. II

Early mornings

I was not born an “early morning bird” but growing up, I got used to getting up early because my mom was an elementary school librarian and my daddy was a football coach/health science teacher. That would serve me well as a member of the RED COAT MARCHING BAND at University of Georgia. Hey, I really do believe that we marching band members along with the R.O.T.C. were the ONLY Georgia students up at 5:30 a.m. EVERY weekmorning.

When my radio alarm clock went off, I scurried putting on just the essentials: tank top, short shorts, old tennis shoes, etc. (Don’t get any strange ideas -When it got cooler, I wore insulated warmups!) And then, I took off on my red 10 speed bicycle for band practice which began at 6:00 a.m. SHARP. That first class morning went well as our “demonic” band director did not chew anyone out (Criticize -Absolutely, but no one’s head was bitten off!)

No time for much chit chat -The “demon” director would clap his hands and blow his whistle. We all scrambled into our positions as he remarked, “We need to work on ‘lining up correctly’ for Saturday night’s pre-game show…” Well, we did that and other formations/routines before breaking at 7:00 a.m. Then I zipped back to my apartment for a fast breakfast (granola bars with skim milk), shower, get dressed and bike for my first college class at 9:00 a.m.

I decked myself in a “Jane College” look with knee-long shorts, medium tight blouse (A little cleavage but not TOO much) along with new nike shoes. Add to that my book back pack readied for my first three classes and safety helmet -I was ready!

“Jane College”

My first class was Sophomore English. Why not Freshman English? Because I was fortunate to be able to take English Composition during my last year of high school -For college credit! That sophomore class was very big to me at around 100 students. But the next class would really surprise me.

With that next class starting at 10:10 a.m., I was glad it was in a short walking distance from my English Literature class. This class was Freshman Biology which I chose over Chemistry or Physics. (I enjoy challenges but too much is too much!) But my surprise was how big the “classroom” was in size AND numbers. The classroom was actually an auditorium which had to seat at least 3,000. And it was 2/3 full when I got there! More students in one class than in 6th through 12th grade at my home county middle/high school.

That was when I really felt like a very small fish in a very large pond. And I felt a little lonely.

And a bit homesick too!

But I was determined to make the best of it. As I waited for what is referred to as a graduate assistant to show up for the Biology lecture, I did take notice of older students around campus who wore the names of the organizations they belonged to on their shirts. Some of those names were actually letters -Greek Letters. I knew what the Greeks were about from that movie classic Animal House but the idea of binge drinking and flunking out of college had ZERO appeal to me. Then I remembered Susan, who was lined up next to me in the color guard. She had worn greek letters to band practice but she did NOT make me think of a “drunken party girl” type.

My Biology lecture ended at11:00 a.m. and the third class at 11:10 a.m. was a short walk away. This class was Music Appreciation and like the other two classes, was a general education class that everyone has to take. Ho Hummm. After Music, I was done for the day with two of my other classes on a Tues/Thurs schedule. (The three I mentioned were my MWF schedule) And with my classes done for my first day, it was 12 noon. Time for lunch at the University Student Center cafeteria.

Lost in (Cafeteria) Space

Try to imagine a big restaurant. Typically, most commercial restaurants that are cafeteria-type are the largest and will max out around 5,000 square feet. But the main University of Georgia cafeteria would swallow up the largest non-college cafeterias. Think football gridiron big -At least.

Well, yours truly the cute red head small town girl was mixing in an ocean of U.G.A. students for the first time. Recall, I had been on the campus during high school summer band camps but those experiences were highly supervised. And I ate in a smaller dining hall separated from the university students. This, however, was BIG TIME!

As I pulled out my Fall Semester Meal Plan card for the cashier, I looked out towards the HUGE area where students were eating at what must have been 100s of tables and thought, “This is the main cafeteria?…Hope I don’t get lost in here!” I then placed my book back pack on a REALLY long shelf and got in one of the half dozen lines I saw to get some nourishment -I was hungry!

Going through the food line was simple enough -And rather quick too. I don’t recall that first meal but I DO  remember walking out of the food service area  to a refreshment station to get some diet Coke. No problem there. But then I looked out at the huge dining area.

Where to sit?

Not seeing ANYONE I knew from band or the apartment, I decided to try and find an empty table to sit at. I walked up and down rows of tables but no luck -And it is not my style to “impose” on people I do not know for a seat. (I’m sure some single unattached guy wouldn’t have minded but I try not to be “too forward” as well.) I was starting to get panicky but a R.O.T.C. uniformed guy spoke to me saying, “Hello, Miss…I was just leaving…Do you want this table or are you looking for someone?”

I graciously accepted and sat down to eat as he left. I did not get his name and never ran into him again despite looking out for him. To this day, I have a special regard for people in uniform who serve our country. All three of my older brothers and my daddy served but the kindness to a newbie shown by this Army Officer candidate only reinforced that regard.

It was a challenging first day but only the first of many days to come. Later that night, as I prepared to turn in, I thought to myself, “Am I ‘in over my head’ as to this university?” I knew after that first day of classes that I needed to create from scratch a social network of my own -And would not be able to do so just through the marching band or on line with my computer (The internet was just starting to become a major ‘fad’ in 1997.).

It is then that I recalled seeing some recruitment notices on the apartment bulletin board in the main entrance lobby. It said something about “Panhellenic Council  Rush” and “Sorority Rush”. It would start the next week but I wasn’t too sure. I AM social but the party scene like in those “drunken Frat-Rat” movies just did not interest me. Still, I knew that I needed more than marching in the color guard for a social outlet on a campus of 35,000 students.

As I closed my eyes and started to doze off, I decided to check out a part of campus life many students never partake of: Greek Life.

And I’m glad I did!

 

MICHELLE’S FIRST DAY ANNOUNCEMENT

Hello everyone: To begin this segment, let me just say to those readers who sent their congratulations -Thank so much! Y’all are sweet. And to the two insensitive weirdos who dared to ask if the father was one of the kids I teach: The “father” is my 1 year husband/Doctor AND the two of you are permanently BLACKLISTED with the other dozen jerks who have mush for brains.

This short segment is a paraphrase of what I told my 4th grade class last week and their reactions.

Me: O.K. class…Before we start with assigning of textbooks, I have some special news to tell you…No, Michael…it isn’t a longer recess…Sue, Mary…Turn around and pay attention!…Children, I am announcing that I will be your teacher only through Christmas break in December.

Class: Awww…Why, Mrs. ….?

Me: Because I am going to have a baby!

Class: (Different voices) “Do you have Santa bring it?”…”Is the baby on order?”…”Why don’t you just get the baby today?” (Other kids “in the know” laughed.)

Me: (Stifling a giggle) Now class…Turn around a pay attention, Stewart!…When a woman has a baby, there are profound physical changes…Lenny, I see your hand raised…That is good…Now tell the class what happened with your mom over the summer.

Lenny: I know what will happen, Mrs. …., You will get FAT!

(The entire class burst out laughing and I had a chuckle myself.)

Me: No, Lenny…that not precisely correct…Class, you WILL see me get “bigger” but that is because I will be carrying the baby inside of me until Spring of next year. Mary, you have your hand up…Question?

Mary: Mrs. …., how does the baby breathe? (Some  snide snickering by some others)

Me: Come on, class…Be nice!…Mary, that was a good question. While I can’t give you an anatomical answer, lets just say the baby is “connected” to the mother for both air and food. Josh, I know you are just dying to ask something but raise your hands FIRST, understand me? (Josh then eagerly raised his hand and I then pointed to him.)

Josh: Mrs. …., you said you were leaving at Christmas break but the baby won’t be born till Spring…Why not teach us till then?

Me: I understand the disappointment all of you feel that I will not be your teacher at the start of the new year but a lot of preparing goes into getting ready to be a new mom…But I promise you…I will drop by next year…And you will get to see the baby before the school year is out…One last question because we need to hand out your math textbooks…Mickey…Raise your hand..that’s good.

Mickey: Mrs. …., how did the baby get inside you? (Total laughter all around…including me -A little)

Me: Mickey, that is a question you need to talk to your mom and dad about, o.k.?

Later, as the class took its first recess of the new school year, I questioned Mickey one-on-one to see if he was sincere or just being clownish. It was the former so I sent him on his way to the playground. When told of Mickey’s question, Jenny, always of a “reserved” demeanor, nearly cracked up.

All in all, I think I’ll have a good half year -Even if Mr. Smith, our principal, fumes at having to get another “pregnant-teacher replacement.” (What else can he do about it, anyway? HA HA)

 

GUEST EDITORIAL

Once again Prof. N. unleashes a well-deserved barrage of criticism towards a certain “Rev.” Hint to the “Rev.”: You may want to consider ANSWERING pointed questions that are posed below. To not do so makes YOU look like the one who cannot make a case for his anti c.p. position.

Hey Wade man , don’t make me get ma’  urban dictionary out again.

Lets get this straight . I asked you some simple questions. You ducked , pleaded for a time extension , and then avoided the damn questions all together. Now you try to muddy the waters. No dice.

I’ve told you your invective is water off a duck’s back . I want a serious discussion : you want flim flam and catch phrases. No substance.

You say “Who am I?” Well contributors to 54 have no problem in identifying me . I don’t exactly hide. I’m on more than  one of the major network boards, and one has my entire current details posted open to the whole world. And after all a well educated Southern schoolgirl (who incidentally writes a much better line on opposing cp than you do) found out in 30 minutes flat who I was…..it took me longer to convince  her VP not to punish her for breaking school protocol!

Did the ladies ask me to write? NO!

Now as I’ve said I’ve no fight with you , but anyone who has visited the South knows you don’t take liberties with Southern Ladies, and you sir, did just that ! You will ferociously fight their little blog and name call, but the big Southern interest groups and the educational wing of the Church in the private schools you won’t fight. Oh and bluster all you like , but I can’t find a single policy declaration from your church (PCUSA) condemning corporal punishment in the home or schools.  If there isn’t one, surely that’s a near home battle ground?

If TWP are not portrayed as  Nazis then its abusers of the disabled..or worse….Does your abuse know no bounds………for example …you claimed Michelle ‘paddled a disabled child’. Firstly there is ADHD and ADD. In my days I was diagnosed hyperactive with a gifted IQ , one end of that spectrum. Our resident clinical psychologist on 54 will I hope say more about ADD -He has elsewhere on the forum, but sometimes it is the lack of a framework with predictable rewards and penalties which helps keep hyperactive /ADD children in a negative learning mode. I know you will find it difficult to believe but Michelle may have done absolutely the best possible thing for “Rob”. It wasn’t a severe paddling but it may have brought home his need to internalize the framework rules. …and he was consoled after -Not thrown to the wolves , sent back to class upset and uncomprehending.

I could go on : you put the worst possible interpretation on their actions , whilst remaining mute about powerful interest groups such as the Christian schools who paddle daily without let or hindrance from yourselves.   Yet you call the ladies racists (your Nashia broadcast was playing an unwarranted race card, but I’ve dealt with that elsewhere) ………or worse…….

But when it comes to Briarwood Christian School, will you take them on. No Sir! Btw, I’ve no connection with them, I don’t have to  ‘brag’ about them -I merely  asked  you to roundly condemn them in the apocalyptic terms  that you condemn the ever more so moderate ladies of TWP. And whilst we are on that subject, I mentioned only days ago that a year and more back, I pointed out that some of the schools in the South who most frequently use corporal punishment in the public schools are almost entirely black, with black school  boards. So its not a white WASP thing at all…….the black communities use the paddle as much if not  more than the whites.

Now see, there are all these Christian schools, many from branches of your own family tree. You  could go and picket them , go and release the poor oppressed misguided beaten kids who happily get good GPA’s and become model citizens ….Then there are the large mainly black schools in the South where paddling is extensively used. Do we see you at those school gates? Nope. Why not? Their communities backs them , so instead, you  concentrate on lobbying Washington, D.C. and the President …..after all  they are too far removed from the people to bother about a little thing called local democracy. You are not about a mass movement of popular pressure -You are an arrogant elitist movement who wishes not to debate and engage , but dictate and impose.

But my main point is this: I asked you some basic, easy questions on how you would deal with issues if corporal punishment was abolished. Issues you should know all about. When c.p. was abolished over here in Britain, no one even looked at these questions, and now everyone sees that was a mistake.  But  if you want to replicate  our high school system -Buddy, you are welcome to the original!

So lets repeat the agenda :

If Nashia hadn’t been paddled, what would you have done instead? Washed your hands of her and called the sheriff? Had both girls arrested and the matter  dealt with in the courts? Suspended both girls (OSS) and risked their school careers? You’ve told us what you wouldn’t do : Now tell us what you would. Its that simple

We know even your “experts” admit that positive discipline doesn’t deal alone with all school issues, and isn’t universally applicable across all psychological profiles….so what sanctions DO you approve of and have you looked at their  negative effects? Believe me, all sanctions do have negative effects.

What techniques would your anti bullying policy use? How would you protect the bullied?

You   see all paddling as abusive and all other disciplinary interventions as benign. If this is  not your view, please give us details. What criticisms have you of  alternate sanctions?

Its not good enough to say “Don’t paddle.”

Get real and address the real world, what do you put in its place? OSS and turn the problem over to society?

Finally you say “I’ve got all the answers.”  Sorry, I haven’t …..I’m searching …its you who has the future all wrapped up, and yet you won’t share your vision on future school discipline. You say “I’m arrogant.”  Sorry to disappoint again. Its not my fight -I just ask questions. It seems to me that the arrogant ones are those who wish to impose their imperious will over the whole American community with a stroke of the President’s  pen.

You say I’m the “know it all prof.” Well, sorry again to disappoint.  I don’t claim that, but this I will say: You are in danger of giving negative campaigning an even worse name than it has already.

Wake up, smell the coffee and answer the questions, or the communities you need to convince (and that’s not me ) will righty give you a big fat “F”.

-Prof. N

COMING NEXT:

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. III,

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE: A NEW YEAR

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