105. RENEE’S 1ST TEACHER EVALUATIONS, RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. VI & ALUMNI INQUIRES TO MICHELLE

Hello Dear Readers: As the month of September has passed by, all of us at TWP say “Whew!!” Its been an up and down month but Jenny’s Tommy and my (Renee) Tyler have stayed out of MAJOR trouble in kindergarten -So far! Good thing Jenny and I decided that Tommy and Tyler would do better in separate kindergarten classes -For the sake of their teachers. (HA HA) We all had a nice get-together/cookout at Michelle and Richard’s “horse ranch”. Michelle is ALL  smiles over Alabama (Hey, beating up the Duke “basketball team” in that football masacre doesn’t count for much -Watch out for Arkansas, you Crimson Tiders!) while Jenny and Wendy are exhausted/relieved over Auburn while yours truly mourns over  her beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Well, there is always the next game…

RENEE’S 1ST TEACHER EVALUATIONS

Dear Readers: Due to the length of other segments of this post, this feature will not be as long as upcoming segments on my evaluation of teachers at the middle school where I am the assistant principal. I chose to evaluate the physical education and health classes first -Not because I am out to get Coach B and a few others who I have differences with but rather, because the P.E./Health classes should be the easiest to evaluate. Right?

WRONG!

I showed up at the gym with clip board in hand figuring, “Who can screw up a P.E. class?”

Well, Coach B could. Why? When I showed up about 10 minutes after P.E. started, I figured that 1st period’s roll call and warm-ups were already done so that would be observed the next P.E. class. Coach B was definitely NOT expecting me so I got to observe how a 30 year veteran handled the class. But I was in for a disappointment.

There were four basketball games going on which was o.k. but the several “dodgeball games” were not! And Coach B? He was slouched on the gym bleachers sipping a Coke as though he was royalty presiding over his court.

When there was “rough play”, Coach B just blew his whistle. This 300+ pounds of legarthy was not setting a good example and I am starting to understand why the U.S. has an obesity epidemic among our young people. Of course, Coach B stated that he preferred a loose type of P.E. class.

Read that “Glorified Recess”. And all of his P.E. classes were like the 1st period! My evaluation shows a lot of “Not Observed” marks on it. A couple of other P.E. classes by  other male coaches graded only a little better. And in case anyone wants to know, the girl’s P.E. classes graded much BETTER.

There are going to be changes made at the boy’s P.E. classes. I am going to push for more cardio exercises such as distance running and sprints while dropping “dodgeball” which does NOTHING for physical fitness. Some basketball is o.k. -But every day? The coaches and kids will whine about my changes but too many kids are out of shape!

You have to start somewhere.

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. VI

(Special Note from Renee) Dear Readers, some of the following descriptions in this chronicle segment concerns “ritualistic” scenes that pertain to what sororities use to install new members also known as pledges. I WILL attempt to describe what I experienced in the most general terms possible because these specific experiences is what makes a girl a member of Alpha, a national sorority established about 100 years ago. Nothing below will identify my sorority because, to do otherwise, would break my own lifetime secret oath. Also, I hold the highest regard for the founders of my sorority and the “words” they passed on for future generations. Finally, for those who think sororities are “witches’ covens” or “feminine illuminatis”, stop being silly! The most accurate image of a sorority sister is of a high academic achiever who excels in student leadership roles and is involved in campus and community service projects.

Pledgeship Ceremony

Betcha everyone wants to know how I was installed as a pledge of Alpha sorority at University of Georgia. Yeah…the “assume the position, pledge!”…Right?

WARNING: WHAT OUT FOR MAJOR LETDOWN!

Unlike that stupid movie classic Animal House, the reality of pledge installation ceremonies is quite different from the Hollywood “version”. But, it is closed to the eyes of the general public and what I describe is in general terms and could apply to any group. As in all the chronicles, my intention is to give a side of myself so that the reader can see me as a typical, normal professional educator who had experiences like many others who went to college.

The pledge installation ceremony was held the Sunday night after Invitation Bids were turned in. We (All 60 of us pledges) were to be at the back porch of the Alpha house at 9:00 p.m. Sharp -And were all admonished to be very quiet, avoid idle chatter and have checks made out for the fees due and payable that night. When we pledges all met, there were NO lights on in the house! We all giggled thinking, “What kind of joke are they going to pull on us?” Hey, do you REALLY think you can put 60+ 18 year old young ladies together who do not know each other AND keep them quiet for long?

HELL NO!

Someone must have heard us from inside because the lights in back came on and one of the sisters stepped out and said, “Silence!…Those with checks made out line up and enter QUIETLY…The Treasurer will take the checks and mark you off her list…Anyone without a check, go back to your apartment -We will call you later.” No one had to leave so we each trooped into the dining hall area and turned in our checks. Strangely, there were only a few sisters with us at that moment and they, like us, were dressed just as we all were at Friday night’s Formal Dinner.

When the last checks were turned in to the Treasurer, she got up and quietly left the dinning hall. Then, two other sisters came in and introduced themselves as the Pledge Master and Pledge Educator (My fellow color guard member Susan was the latter). Together with the other two sisters, they beckoned our pledge wannabe group to follow them towards the front chapter room in a still darkened house. This is when I started to get apprehensive. But instead of the chapter room, we were all directed into a large storage room  I hadn’t ever seen before. There were a lot of clothes hooks on the wall and enough chairs for each new pledge. Why this setup was made crystal clear when Susan matter-of-factly said, “Everyone STRIP completely and hang ALL your clothes on these wall hooks…I’ll give you girls 5 minutes…Get moving!”

A couple of girls started to leave BUT THE DOOR WAS LOCKED! They and a few others started to get panicky but some of the others calmed them down saying, “We are all girls so don’t worry about it!”

When we were all down to our birthday suits, the door opened and Susan reappeared with a plain cardboard box and handed it to one girl saying, “Each of you take a blindfold out and put it on…No need to be anxious…Only the sisters of this chapter are in the house…Be quick…the ceremony is about to start!”

With some giggling among us, we all put on the blindfolds as one girl remarked, “If Matt is behind this…I’ll KILL him…I SWEAR!”

“Silence…Do not make a singe utterance until told to,” Susan interrupted. We complied.

We pledges then sensed a number of persons entering the room. And then, what felt like large handkerchiefs, were used to tie our hands behind our backs. Each of us were led out blindfolded and wrist tied by what we later understood to be two sisters holding each arm. The person holding my right arm as I was led out gently squeezed and patted my arm. That did calm my panicky feelings because if I had even touched something cold or clammy, I would have SCREAMED! (That mystery person on my right, I later learned, was none other than my future sorority “big sister” Susan!)

Our group was slowly guided in a direction I could not recognize from the previous times I had been shown the house. The reason: This “part” of the house was hidden from non-members by means of a secret doorway entrance. (Readers: Don’t bother calling the university or various sororities because the former doesn’t know and the latter will never tell!) This doorway led immediately to a winding circular stairway that was at least a 1 1/2 stories DOWN. At this point, the person on my left got in front to lead me while the right side person (Susan) got behind me and grasped my shoulders. It was at this moment that I really learned trust -Because when walking down stairs blindfolded and wrist tied behind your back, you really do not have any other choice!

As each of us pledges made our way down, we could hear the sound of rumbling of distant thunder and whirling wind (I quickly realized that had to come from a stereo C.D. because the Athens, Georgia area hadn’t had rain in weeks and was in a near drought!) Along with all that, I heard muffed voices reciting Palms 23 with a different voice giving a different verse ever so many steps. When we pledges all reached the sorority “sanctuary”, we were told to kneel as the blindfolds and wrist restraints were removed. What I saw seemed to be Amazon Warriors meet Dungeons and Dragons.

At this point, let me make something VERY CLEAR: As an oath-bound Alpha sorority sister, I will never describe ANY of our specific rituals. But I will give a quick GENERAL view that could be of ANY sorority. First, the “sanctuary” (As I call it) was cold and damp like a real dungeon with cut stone masonry walls and floors with candles all around. Second, we pledges all faced a small white-cloth draped alter with an open Holy Bible on it. This alter was surrounded by a semi-circle of seven dark-hooded sisters -Still wearing their evening dresses. But the two outermost sisters were wearing what looked like metal body armor and held very long metal tipped spears! (At this point, I was too nervous to giggle!) Finally, my journey began as a pledge as the roster was confirmed followed by a prayer recited by on of the seven hooded sisters.

All I will say beyond this  is that the oaths and “words of wisdom” I heard that night were the words first spoken by the founding foremothers of our sorority more than 100 years earlier. Those founders 100 years ago were just like us: young, idealistic and full of energy. And their truisms are as relevant today as when they were first made a part of our sisterhood.

On the “energy” part though, we all had the biggest sister vs. pledge “pillow fight” on campus after the ceremony was over and we pledges got dressed.

Somewhere, those founding foremothers had to be looking down from afar and smiling.

 

ALUMNI INQUIRES TO MICHELLE

Dear Readers: This second (and final) segment on college alumni inquires TWP received earlier this year concerns our Alabama Crimson TIDE ex-cheerleader Michelle. As in the ALUMNI INQUIRES TO RENEE, this segment has the email messages from a sorority sister of Michelle and Michelle’s replies. Also, like the previous Inquiries, all names and clues as to the actual sorority name were deleted. Also, all names in “( )” are the pseudo-names we at TWP use to protect privacy.

Dear xxxxx(Michelle),

Whatsup, Sunbeam? I’ve been meaning to send you a note since we last met at the xxx xxxxx (Chi) Spring Alumni Banquet. You and xxxxxxx(Richard) are still together -That’s great! He better realize how LUCKY he is -Even if he’d rather be with his drinking buddies over at Gamma than with his beauty queen wife and her sorority sisters! (HA HA) How’s “lion taming” going? You KNOW what I am referring to: Those 9 and 10 year old brats you TRY to teach! Some of those kids need to be caged from what I hear. Hopefully, you will stay the same sweet xxxxx(Michelle) I’ve known since we met at xxx xxxxxx sorority.

xxxxx(Michelle), the real reason I am emailing you concerns a blog my husband stumbled on while looking for another wordpress blog. What jumped out at me was the description of one of the bloggers: ex-cheerleader, ex-beauty pageant winner, elementary education major,well-to-do family and a member of “Chi” sorority. (Come to think of it -You REALLY disguised our actual sorority’s name very well if this blog’s Michelle is you!) xxxxx(Michelle), are you this Michelle on the blog TEACHERSWHOPADDLE?  If you are, you can count on my lips being forever sealed just as tightly as our sorority bond.

Email me back, xxxxx(Michelle).

xxxx xxxx #xxxx,

xxxx xxxxx(Angela)

Hi xxxxx(Angela),

After talking it over with TWP Editor Renee,Wendy and Jenny -I’ve decided to ‘fess up to you because you are one of the people I feel I can trust to keep her word.

Yep, I am that mythical blond ex-cheerleader known as Michelle to over 75,000 viewers of teacherswhopaddle. Shock and awe, huh?

As to some of my 4th grade students needing to be in “cages”-Its not THAT bad! Some kids are just a bit more keyed up than others. But that comes with the territory of being an elementary teacher and, with experience, I have gotten better at “tamming” even the rowdiest. After all, ALL children need an education in this new 21st century world.

So, xxxxxx(Angela), tell me YOUR impression of TWP’s “Michelle” -Is it accurate and what do you recall about me that was not mentioned in the RECOLLECTIONS series? To read that, look it up in the Spring archives of 2010.

Zap me back your perspectives. I can handle criticism.

xxxx xxxx #xxxx,

xxxxxx(Michelle)

Hey, xxxxxx(Michelle),

Sorry to leave you hanging for a couple weeks but with that stupid oil spill in the Gulf, my veterinarian practice has been BUSY with animal rescue consultation work. We have been swamped with work since BP doo dooed last month!

As to impressions and perspectives:

First, when I googled teacherswhopaddle, I also found a pathetic blog which claims to expose you. The truth: These retards on that other so-called blog aren’t even in the same galaxy as far as knowing the real person behind the “Michelle” name. After I saw a few of the names they called you, I then understood why all of you use pseudo-names: To protect not just yourselves but your families as well. This Rev. Ditty and Jestin sound dangerous to me.

Second, the RECOLLECTIONS which you wrote sounds just like the sorority sister I knew. It is so hard to imagine you as a teacher who paddles though. You were so sweet tempered. Some of us at xxx xxxxx sorority really didn’t think you were cut-out to be an elementary teacher because you are NOT the “strict matron” type that a teacher needs to be. And reading about you PADDLING students? I had to laugh out loud at the mere thought of you holding a paddle -Much less using one. Memo to those kids: If you behave badly enough for xxxxx(Michelle) to paddle you -YOU DESERVE IT!

xxxx xxxxx #xxxx,

xxxxx(Angela)

Hi xxxxx(Angela),

Thanks for your words of support -It really means a lot to me. You wouldn’t believe the nasty emails we get EVERY week. One would think by reading some of it that we spend all of our time abusing little kids. Wendy, Jenny and Renee are ALL moms but you wouldn’t know it by the venom of those emails. I have shed a few tears over those emails and Renee has discouraged me from reading them.

xxxxx(Angela), you gave some interesting comments that TWP might want to use in the future -If that is o.k. with you. But why don’t you tell me what you remember about me at Alabama. Just give me YOUR perspective about the REAL girl whom TWP calls “Michelle”.

Zip me soon!

xxxx xxxxx #xxxx,

xxxxx(Michelle)

Hello xxxxx(Michelle),

Sure, feel free to use any of my comments -As long as you keep my real name confidential.

Lets see. How about your nerdy look when working at the library. You ALWAYS had your long locks of blond hair rolled up in a bun when stocking the book shelves. And those “fake glasses” -You didn’t wear glasses or contacts!. Guess you got tired of being asked out on dates, eh xxxxx(Michelle)? HA HA!

I’ll NEVER forget what happened at the Kappa backyard beach party one Spring. You walked over to a large wooden tub of spiked fruit punch and leaned in to scoop up some before it all ran out. SOMEBODY slipped behind you and dunked you head-first into the tub. You weren’t hurt but it tipped over and your hair went from blond to fruit punch red along with your white t-shirt! To make matters worse, there was NOTHING between you and your t-shirt! Talk about a one-person wet t-shirt contest: You were a winner with the Kappas but none of those guys dared take credit! You were upset and nearly in tears but a certain med student loaned you a dry shirt. (Richard?)

There was something about you and bikinis that just didn’t seem to work. On one of our sorority’s Spring Breaks at Panama City, Florida -You somehow managed to lose your top bikini even though the waves are very mild. That nice older gent saw it wash up on the beach and brought it back to you. xxxxx(Michelle), by the look on that gent’s face -You made his day! HA HA HA HA HA!

Finally, I remember that “incident” during the start of a basketball timeout when the Alabama cheerleaders would do a routine to fire up the home crowd. You were so anxious to get “rolling” that you cartwheeled right into a referee! Both of you were o.k. which was fortunate for that referee because we all know who the fans sympathized with. After that, this referee was definitely watching out for you!

xxxxx(Michelle), you are one of the sweetest and kindest persons I have ever known. You are the exact opposite of people’s general image of a beauty pageant winner, sorority sister and college cheerleader. You were open and nice to EVERYBODY and was a model of what a lady should be. Just ignore those looney letters because the people who write them have serious mental issues. As to tears, I DO believe it when you say you’ve shed them when giving a paddling. I KNOW it hurts you inside and you take no pleasure whatsoever in it. Just remember, those little swats you have rarely dished out were DESERVED and would have been a lot harder had some of my  teachers done the honors! Personally, I think your pupils are the luckiest around to have you as their teacher. But they STILL have to behave!

xxxx xxxxx #xxxx,

xxxxxx(Angela)

Hi again xxxxxx(Angela),

I certainly got reminded of some college mishaps I’d just as soon forget. Renee, Jenny and Wendy all “rolled” over in laughter after reading your recollections of me. I guess I will just have to watch out for anything on Wendy and Jenny. A few weeks ago, TWP DID get some email on Renee but IMO, it was MILD compared to what you dished out. But I asked for it -AND GOT IT! Somehow, I have a feeling some readers are going to have a different view of “Michelle”. (Giggle)

xxxxx(Angela), see ya at homecoming! ROLL TIDE!

xxxxx xxxxx #xxxx,

xxxxxx(Michelle)

 

COMING NEXT:

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE: FIRST PADDLING OF YEAR,

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. VII

&

ATHLETIC ADVENTURES OF WENDY

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