102. PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE: A NEW YEAR, RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. III & YOUR FAQ’S

Hello Dear Readers: As we at TWP move out of our “restful” summer mode and into the start of a new school year, we cannot help but notice the shift into a new routine. Jenny and I (Renee) have our Tommy and Tyler (TNT for short!) enrolled in kindergarten -With separate teachers, of course!. In their first week, no problems -For them or their teachers! Both boys had a blast at T-ball and are ALREADY asking about Pee-Wee Football! As protective “momma grizzles”, Jenny and I shudder and cringe at the thought of a rough sport like football for our little ones -But the minimum age is 8 so the day of reckoning will be a few more years. Wendy and James have hired a private babysitter for Patrick while Wendy resumes teaching at her new school. Michelle and Richard anxiously await the time for when tests will tell them if the baby-to-be is a boy or girl. (Some people just can’t wait to find out!) And last, but not least, I (Renee) cojoled my hubby John into re-surfacing the driveway while Tyler spent the weekend with his nana and poppy. Hey, John REALLY put to use his civil engineering degree in making up excuses why we couldn’t fix the cracks in our driveway: Its too hot, rain in forecast, etc. Brother…The things I, an assistant principal, have to put up with on the home front!

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE: A NEW YEAR

Dear Readers: Its that time of the year again: A new school year with, for me (Renee), a new bunch of 6th graders at the middle school to contend with. As the assistant principal, it will be my job to see to it that ALL the students conduct themselves as required by the student disciplinary code. The same rules WILL apply this year as last. Interestingly, only one former student of mine (Miranda) last year got into serious trouble. All the others were from one of the other elementary schools. Must have done SOMETHING right after all!

A whiner wrote about how I must “intimidate” children like some guard in a “nazi concentration camp”. Sheesh. Actually, on the first day of school, y’all should have seen the looks on the faces of new 6th graders who were former students of mine when they first saw me. Their faces beamed as though I were an old friend instead of their assistant principal. (Even the one student I paddled from that year.) They all smiled and  one said “We are sure glad you are our assistant principal!” and “Do you teach too?” This is what makes the teaching profession rewarding to me: That inner satisfaction that I am positively influencing young lives.

However, I have a job to do and one is to influence students into getting to class on time. With the new 6th graders, middle school and changing classes every 55 minutes is daunting but I help out with their schedules the first couple weeks and steer “lost” students in the right direction to their classes. After a few days, most of the students get the hang of it and start to swagger like they own the place! But others do take longer, especially with combination locks on their lockers. At our middle school since I started last year, we have cut some slack with newbies for at least the first two weeks. And if lock/locker issues persist, I have allowed key locks as long as the office has a working spare key. All in all, our new student orientation system seems to be working.

But not with Amanda.

This young black girl, who moved into our county with her mom from out of state (Michigan), has been late to EVERY class on her schedule EVERY day since school started nearly two weeks ago. All her teachers tell me she is reasonably smart so intelligence is not the issue. There is no physical impairment preventing her from being on time to all her classes. Finally, as of a couple days ago, Amanda is the ONLY student consistently late to every class in the entire school. I even re-worked a couple of her scheduled classes so all of them except p.e. are fairly close together.

Here’s hoping that Amanda will take her class schedule seriously and start being on time -Like the 800+/- other students in our school. Amanda just seems not to care about timeliness but I can only imagine what our school would look like if every student did their own schedule like that! Talking with Amanda, she comes off pleasant enough and has not been a trouble maker. But she has indicated a disdain for the academic schedule assigned to her. Well, if it were possible, every child in our school would have his/her own individual schedule -But I explained to her that that isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

It looks like Amanda will be parked in afterschool detention for 1 hour each day if this tardiness continues. If detentions are needed, I will be calling and discussing this problem with her mom. Perhaps then, a small problem can be solved before it gets worse.

I will keep readers posted on future developments with Amanda if anything new occurs.. (FYI: I looked at Amanda’s registration file and she was NOT opted out of scp by her mom but I hope it doesn’t come to that.)

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. III

Getting ready!

The hard work and early rising for marching band practices was but a prelude to the performance we of the RED COAT MARCHING BAND of THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA were to give during pre-game and half-time of the first home football game of the season. On Saturday morning of game day, the entire band met at Sanford stadium for a walk-through rehearsal. Up until then, I had been to orientation camp and 5 practices. And here I was -Standing “between the hedges” on the field of a huge but empty 90,000 seat stadium. I recall seeing the technical crews working to set up platforms for the t.v. cameras that morning. It was then that I recall our “demonic” band director saying, “Tonight’s game will be on live television so lets bring our ‘A-game’…All right!” Hey folks, I am a confident-type person but at that moment -I nearly froze! A “live” t.v. audience of MILLIONS? Thankfully, Sharon, who was next to me in the color guard formation, nudged me along as we lined up in the pre-game routine.

All 300 +/- of us walked through all of our routines sans instruments, flags and uniforms. One thing I’ll bet few readers know: In the last few minutes of the first half, band members are already leaving their seating area and making their way to a pre-designated place at field level just behind the end zone. All of this takes pre-planning and rehearsals as well. When to get up, leave and line up is ALL pre-planned to the smallest detail. We were all reminded that the first half is NOT considered over until the game officials tell us. (I have seen replays of the infamous ending of the Cal-Stanford game of 1983 and did not want a repeat of that!

Well, I was certainly a “nervous nellie” for the remainder of the day. Just thinking about a live t.v. audience was enough to quell any lunchtime appetite. My parents and two oldest brothers and their spouses were to have lunch with me that day. Nothing like family to give your morale a boost of confidence. After lunch, I played “tour guide” and showed off my campus home, where my classes were and the university in general. Mom and Dad even insisted on taking family pictures of me in my color guard uniform. All of this did help to improve my confidence in my own abilities. That was timely because the afternoon zipped by and it was time for me to meet with all the other band members for dinner -In a smaller dining hall that I had eaten in during high school summer band camps.

During our pregame meal, the general mood was actually jovial. Everyone was joking around and “shooting the breeze” but I did notice the other newbies were quieter. It was then that I realized that I wasn’t the ONLY person with stage anxiety. I sat with the two dozen color guard members to eat and Susan chimed with a wink, “Ready for ‘showtime,’ Renee-baby!” I replied in the affirmative and Susan then whispered in my ear, “If you are a little apprehensive…Its o.k. because last year…I was a nervous wreck!…Renee, you will do just fine because your practices have gone so well.”

I was thankful to hear that and felt more ready than ever…to perform!

Showtime!

As the band assembled outside Sanford stadium, I seemed to feel an air of confidence and was raring to go. From a distance, I saw Mom,Dad and my two older brothers waving at me and, of course, I waved back. Daddy gave a thumbs up and when he did -I felt like I could do a solo performance! Yep…I was ready for a showtime performance.

Only thing was…this was not a national t.v. audience but rather, just a regional one. Georgia’s opener was against Arkansas State, a team we were expected to beat. The REALLY big game would be in a couple weeks against arch-rival South Carolina. Our “demonic” director had psyched us up for a “warm up” performance. Well, any notion that this first performance was to be anything less than our best was dispelled by “demonic” director thus: “Everyone line up as you did this morning…And I will be watching EVERYONE…So do it right or don’t do it at all!”

He didn’t need to say any more as we proceeded through our special stadium entrance and out on to the field at one end zone. The the p.a. blared, “And now, ladies and gentlemen…the 1997 edition of THE RED COAT MARCHING BAND of  THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA!” Yours truly, the petite small town red head felt an electric pulse as a capacity crowd of about 90,000 people roared in unison. And this was just a pre-game show in which the band formed two long columns extending all the way to mid-field. Then, a 5 person military color guard marched out onto the field to “present the colors” which means the U.S. flag. I was in the very back towards the end zone as we all turned and faced towards the Stars and Stripes as the national anthem was played by the band. As the last line “…and the home of the brave!” was played, the roar of approval was deafening. Then the band played the university alma mater before firing up the crowd with the school “fight song” as the 100 +/- football players ran out onto the field between our two columns. Boy, it was a good thing that 5 person military guard had already vacated the field because the football team came through like a black and red tsunami!

There was no other “performance” by us until halftime and that was when I really looked to put on a show. We all got off the field and made our way to our seating area as the other team came onto the field. By the time I had gotten to my seat, they already had done the coin toss and kick-off. Georgia did very well in this game but I do not recall the halftime score. The reason: We marching band members had left our seats a few minutes early to get lined up back on the field just outside the end zone. We were told beforehand that if any play looks to be headed our way “Try to keep from getting run over!” I saw the size of some of those football players -No problem there. I saw what happened to that kid in the Cal-Stanford fiasco -And was NOT interested in repeating history!

That first half-time show went without a hitch and I was in a “zone”. My secret: All credit to future sorority sister Susan who told me “Whatever you do…Do NOT look up towards the spectators…Just do like you would during band practice.” I took that advice to heart and did likewise. As our performance ended, I was definitely pumped and felt a mile high. My family spotted me as the marching band marched off the field while the crowd applauded. Mom and Dad were beaming with pride and took LOTS of pictures too. My middle brother even complemented me (sort of) when he later said, “Hey sis, you didn’t screw up even ONCE!” (What are big brothers for?…Except to aggravate younger siblings, right?)

Georgia won as expected and the rest of the weekend echoed with the sound of parties and social hub-bub. As I waved bye to my folks and rode the elevator back up to an empty apartment, I thought to myself, “Is this it?….We only have 5 home games and then what?” As I’ve said before, I am not a “party-girl” type but I felt there had to be more to college life than an empty apartment on Saturday night. It was then that I actually decided to go through what college women call “sorority rush” and perhaps pledge a sorority.

 

YOUR FAQ’S

It is patently UNFAIR to paddle one child and not the other when two are to be punished for the same offense but one child was “opted out” of c.p. What do you at TWP do in that circumstance?

First thing to keep in mind is that school c.p. is NEVER witnessed by any other student. When a student is to be paddled, it is done in private behind closed doors with just the student, teacher and witness. In the case of two students with one “opted out”, the student to be paddled is dealt with according to school policy AFTER the “opt out” student is sent to the office for suspension. We never discuss to any student what happens to the student sent to the office and the class as a whole is NEVER told the difference. However, the four of us have never encountered this problem. Also, opt outs are very rare and the four of us can recall only a few such cases in our careers.

A radioblogger claims a double handed paddle grip is illegal and that, in doing so, Renee broke state and federal law in the Nashia paddling.

Huh? We at TWP have never heard of any such law and will certainly post any reference to such a law on this blog if a reader finds one. The reason we oppose baseball bat type paddles is for this reason: A handle like on a baseball bat increases the probability of a double handed grip -Which can lead to an abusive paddling.

Renee: The paddle I used in the “Nashia paddling” was NOT a baseball bat type paddle and had it been, I would have refused to use it. However, it was a rather thick and heavy paddle with a wide handle on it. Along with the fact that Nashia is about a foot taller than me and the wider grip of the paddle, I DID use both hands on the overly wide handle. Still, in swinging the paddle, my right arm did ALL the work -my left hand merely assisted as to gripping -not swinging. That paddle WAS swung hard but not in a “home run derby” manner.

This is my final statement as to Nashia’s paddling. (I do wonder sometimes if some folks have forgotten about poor little Amy -Whose facial injuries from Nashia took weeks to heal.)

What does TWP say to those who call paddling in school a “racist” policy originating from slavery and the plantation era of the pre-Civil War South?

🙄 Just one thing: Go to a rural deep south school with a large % of black students, many black teachers and principals -And ask those teachers/principals about their “racist” paddlings. Do understand though -These folks, who KNOW what real racism is by personal experience, take a very dim view of “outsiders” lecturing them on the meaning of the word. (Advice to Paula: Stick to the Bay Area where most people think the way you do.)

 

Special Note

All of us at TWP hope all of you,

our loyal readers, have a safe and fun

Labor Day weekend!

 

COMING NEXT:

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. IV

&

ALUMNI INQUIRES TO RENEE

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