82. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A C.P. BAN, TEACHER AFTERMATH II, JENNY’S FIRST WEEK & R.C. pt. XXII

MEMO TO REV. WADE : We at TWP never questioned your faith but your references to”teen girls” and “sexy butts” did make us wonder if you really were a “man of the cloth”. As to your main thesis: The absence of school c.p. CAUSES better student achievement and conduct and visa-versa: The presence of school c.p. CAUSES lower student achievement and worse conduct. BOTH ARE WRONG! There is NO legitimate scientific research that establishes any cause-effect relationship between school c.p. and academics or conduct. (Why are the worst school districts academically and conduct-wise located in inner city areas with NO school c.p. whatsoever?) Also, comparing demographically different states like Alabama and Iowa is just dishonest. (IMHO, our elementary school would compare very well with the average Iowa elementary school.) Finally, our jab about teenage strippers in Iowa was to make a valid point: Iowa, like all states, DOES have it’s own unique problems. No state is perfect and that is where the “men of the cloth” must fullfill their call: To be the moral conscience of their communities.

And thanks for the lovely poem. We can certainly agree with it’s message about “forgiveness”.

(o2-26-2010) Got your message Friday night. See response at bottom of post.

MEMO TO “BOB T.”: We at TWP had a good laugh about your comparing me (Renee) to 1960’s t.v. star Donna Reed! We had to do a computer search to figure out who you were talking about. No resemblance though. Hey, we all may do a future post giving links to movie/t.v. stars we most resemble! As to “sugar coating”, our blog does give a different perspective than you have. That is to serve as a counter weight to the vicious slanders of the antis. But our accounts do describe our own feelings about school c.p. -And NO, we do NOT enjoy paddling students!

 

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A C.P. BAN

We at TWP are really tiring of the myth that if schools would just drop c.p., then student academic achievement and conduct would both improve and heaven would reign on earth.

That is b*** s***!

Take it from us -We know better! We also have met with teachers from many states and districts, including non c.p. states. All have told us that the differences between schools and districts is because of the differences between the students themselves such as family income, parent education level, one or two parent families and so on.

But the questions from the antis persist: Why not give up school c.p. and see if that works? Well, we are further ahead of the antis on that than they think. In our conversations with other educators, we have found out what happens when a school district drops school c.p. And the results are not a surprise to us -But may challenge some assumptions of readers.

First, we will concentrate on elementary schools for this segment. The reason for this is that TWP does not favor school c.p. at the secondary level. Also, the secondary schools have alternatives that the elementary level does not such as I.S.S., Detention hall and evening school..

The following is a 3 tier discipline program written for a k to 5th grade elementary school. This list of violations is NOT exclusive and because a particular violation is not mentioned should not be interpreted as an intentional omission.

 

LEVEL I: Tardiness w/o excuse, Chewing gum, Dress code violation, disruption of classroom, and Not having required class materials, not having homework completed w/o excuse.

Penalty: First, verbal warning and then loss of credit or recess time. (Example: 5 minutes late for tardy bell means 5 minutes less for recess. No homework turned in means extra make up work.) Parents will be called on first violation of dress code. A child gets 4 tardies in a month before LEVEL II.

LEVEL II: 5TH Level I violation in 30 school day period, Lying, Insubordination, cheating, not returning with class from recess/lunch/library.

Penalty: For Level II offenses, students will lose the next recess period and/or loss of computer time and/or be assigned extra work in classroom instead of library time.

LEVEL III: 5TH Level II violation in 30 school day period, Fighting, throwing dangerous objects at others,Vulgar Language, Pulling Fire Alarms, and Vandalism of School Property or Property of Other Individuals.

Penalty: On this level, the use of corporal punishment will be considered unless the student has been opted out by his parent(s). In the case of an opt out, the student shall be suspended out of school for 3 days.

The next option after school c.p. is suspension and then expulsion. No student will be moved from one level to another based on 5 cumulative violations. Rather, the 5 violation threshold must be based on a single violation. (Example: 5 tardies in a month.)

Scenario I

In the first case, which a teacher I (Renee) met told me about a few years ago, a local school board dropped school c.p. system wide. In such a case, several points must be understood.

All Discipline levels and Penalties remain unchanged for LEVELS I & II.

Student Behavior does NOT change.

Penalties are “Upgraded”.

On the last point, keep in mind that, with the elimination of school c.p., Level III offenses are now automatic “suspension offenses” while LEVEL I & II REMAIN UNCHANGED.

Result: On the surface, this would seem to work with the only change being to LEVEL III with the c.p. ban. If ONLY it were that simple. Schools are under great pressure NOT to suspend students. We at TWP are confident that our administrators would “hold fast” and keep the same standards of conduct as before a ban. But the reality that other teachers have told TWP is very different.

Scenario II

This case, other teachers tell us, is the reality of post-c.p. ban Disciplinary policy. The school board bans school c.p. and “discourages” the increased use of suspension as a c.p. replacement. Please understand, no school board “eliminates” suspension -But woe is the principal who has a sharp increase in suspensions right after a c.p. ban. In other words, the unwritten and unsaid message to principals is: Lower your standards of conduct because if you don’t, the school board will “frown” on a high suspension rate.

Some points to remember:

All Discipline levels remain unchanged but Penalties “Shift”

Student Behavior does NOT change.

Penalties are “Downgraded”.

The difference is in the last point. Since the principal has been “warned” by the school board about the use of suspension as a c.p. replacement; there is only one direction to go: Lower the standards of conduct. This is unsaid of course but what do you call it when a LEVEL III offense gets a LEVEL II penalty. And worse,  LEVEL II gets a LEVEL I penalty. Lastly, LEVEL I is a “disciplinary orphan” in which the “penalty” is simply a verbal warning if anything at all.

Result: This is the scenario that plagues many urban school districts as well as schools in non c.p. states. This is NOT just our opinion but fact as given to us by practicing teachers in the field whom we all have met. TWP does NOT make the claim that school c.p. is a “magic cure-all” for discipline in the classroom. On the other hand, we can assure all our readers that the abolition of school c.p. will neither solve discipline problems in the classroom nor improve academic achievement.

CONCLUSIONS

There is a reason why minor offenses such as tardiness, not having class/homework completed, chewing gum, etc. is widespread and overlooked as a “discipline problem” in non c.p. districts and states. It is because the second scenario is mostly the rule instead of the exception. The central thesis of this segment is that disciplinary policy consist of many parts -Not just school c.p. and/or suspension. We at TWP could write a book on various parts of a school discipline policy but the conclusion of this blog is: You can remove school c.p. but doing so will NOT improve student conduct or academic achievement.

TEACHER AFTERMATH II

Editor Note: This is the AFTERMATH of the post JENNY’S FIRST PADDLING. Take note of the different demeanor of Jenny initially and how she re-establishes teacher-student trust while maintaining her own “teacher authority.”

As Darren turned around, I handed the paddle back to Renee and said,”Darren, what you did was inexcusable and you WILL write a note of apology to Chip and I will see to it that Chip’s mom sees it.”

Continuing, I patted Darren on the shoulder as I spoke,” I did not enjoy paddling you -But YOUR actions led to it…understand me?”

Darren nodded and I then said,”It is over and I hope never to have to use a paddle again…Now go to the classroom and start writing your apology.”

As Darren slowly walked to the classroom and sat down to write his apology, I felt empathy for him. The paddling WAS merited but I did NOT feel good about it at all. Still, I understood that Chip was the one with cuts and bruises while Darren had a stinging rear end that would be barely blemished by dismissal time later in the day. As I stood at the doorway into the room watching Darren, I felt a sense of disappointment, not anger, towards Darren because I felt he knew better than to purposely injure Chip.

I then decided that justice had been served -Although it was all something I wished to forget. A rather crestfallen Darren then came up to me and with shaking hands, handed me the note. There were a lot of cross outs and a couple misspellings but the message seemed sincere. I then told Darren to rewrite the note and handed him a dictionary to look up a word. It was such a teachable moment and I was sure Darren would learn something from this bad situation.

When Jean brought our classes in from recess I explained what had transpired and Jean nodded saying, “Exactly as I would have done…But a lot sooner!” I just rolled my eyes without uttering a word. I had Darren apologize to Chip and then read the note in front of the class. After he had done so, I told Darren and the class, “It takes a ‘big boy’ to say ‘I am sorry’ and MEAN it!…I am proud of you for that.” Darren then hugged me as I patted him on the back. One student remarked, “Did you paddle him, Miss …. ?” Darren nodded before I could warn the class about teasing but there was none.

Later that day after dismissal, I told Jean, “Look, I’m not changing my classroom management style to yours because of one incident.” I made it clear that what happened was very exceptional and Renee agreed with me although adding, “Be prepared to paddle again…Because some kids will test you.” Jean told both Renee and me that being thought of as “reluctant paddlers” would lead some to try our limits even more. To which Renee and I both disagreed. Jean kinda threw up her hands remarking, “What is the use?…Young teachers!…Can’t tell them anything!”

It really bothered me that I paddled a student of mine. Like the other contributors, my idealism died the day I first swung a paddle-but at the same time, I also realize it was justified.

Chip’s mom was miffed about what happened but I told her the culprit had been “dealt with” according to school policy. She replied, “What these heathen kids need is a ‘good paddling’ like they did when I was growing up!” As a school employee, I was not at liberty to discuss what was done but I gave a quick wink and she seemed to be satisfied.

Darren was a little skittish towards me for a few days but I talked to him the following week and reassured him that as long as he (and others) didn’t purposefully HURT others -No one had to worry about a paddling from me. After that, the class settled back into what passes for a “normal” routine. One change I did notice is that the recess “horseplay” was toned down considerably which allowed Jean and I to relax a bit and chat more. As to school discipline, we did differ quite a bit and Jean started to consider early retirement which she did three years later _To be replaced by an ex Alabama cheerleader named Michelle! O M G!!!

JENNY’S FIRST WEEK

When writing the segment above, TWP remembered that we had skipped over telling the story of Jenny’s first week as a rookie teacher. Like all new teachers, Jenny had the normal challenges as well as a few unique difficulties but managed to make it! Of course, I (Renee) helped somewhat -Especially where Jenny and Jean did not see eye to eye.

Hello dear readers, this is the other 4th grade teacher opposite Michelle’s room named Jenny. I really haven’t been forgotten by the others (I see you trying to stifle that giggle of yours, Renee!) But with everything else we’ve wanted to do with this blog, the story of my first week got lost in the shuffle. Starting with Tuesday, the first day of classes in my teaching career.

Tuesday: Hey, if you could just see the look on some kids’ faces. I do tower over the kids in my class at 5′ 10 1/2″ but after shorty Renee last year, I must be the giant of the school. Hummm. Well, I am the tallest teacher at this school so…

I set up on a table a bunch of plant exhibits and while I will teach all subjects, my passion is earth science and will combine my class with Jean’s (The other 4th grade teacher) three days a week for biology/earth science.

Everything started as planned with the usual q/a on my marital status, where I’m from and “Do you play basketball?” Well, I guess I’ll have to “shoot a few hoops” at recess. BUT NOT EVERY DAY!

Wednesday: I am trying to set the right tone early with a no nonsense demeanor. Jean observed me at lunch monitoring and says I intimidate some of the more rowdy kids. If my stature seems imposing -So be it! Maybe my class will behave better. But I’m not counting on it.

As this week is my  first, school tradition is that the new teacher buys the teacher lounge breakfast snacks for the first week. Somehow, I don’t think the other teachers are fond of my whole grain bagels. Mr. Smith, our principal, hopes to get back to the Dunkin’ Donuts “tradition” of last year. HA HA But one young teacher named Renee did like my bagels. We, as the two youngest teachers, will have to be comrades -Even if she is a U.G.A. girl!

Thursday: I found a surprise “gift” in my desk drawer this morning. A paddle! The note with it said, “From Jean and Renee: Something no teacher’s desk is complete without!” Oh Yeah? Well, I slipped it back to Jean’s desk with note “Returned to sender.”

Had an interesting conversation with Jean and Renee after 3:00 p.m. dismissal. I understood their point about taking charge of all classroom discipline. They heard me out about my desire to avoid resorting to the paddle. I swear, I think the way some kids look at me, they would faint if I even hinted about a paddle. Who knows, maybe I will never have a need for one.

Friday: Today, I broke up a recess scuffle between two of the bigger boys in my class. I may be tall but I’m plenty strong enough to pull two boys apart with no trouble whatsoever. The look of apprehension on their faces. I just sat them down at the entrance steps for the rest of recess. I let them off with just a stern warning this time. I could tell those two were definitely relieved.

 

RENEE CHRONICLES pt. XXII

Curfews

When growing up, my family was like most normal ones: You were in by dark or serious consequences resulted. My three older brothers had “woodshed” moments when they stayed out after curfew. As to me: The lesson of the few times my butt kissed momma’s strap sank in VERY WELL. I knew and understood what my boundaries were and respected them.

When teenagers get driver’s licenses, these rules do have to change…somewhat. When my siblings and I were old enough to drive, the consequences for breaking our 11:00 p.m. weekend curfew was grounding. MAJOR GROUNDING. That is NO t.v., NO computer, NO telephone chats, NO NOTHING  except extra chores…For a WHOLE MONTH! One “major grounding” always cured the individual of forgetting their curfew.

There was one exception to the “major grounding” rule: If you were out and were headed back but could not make the 11:00 deadline, then you could call before 11:00 and get a 15 minute extension. You see, my mom and dad did NOT want us kids getting in a wreck and killing someone else (or ourselves) just to “beat the clock.” But you got this reprieve only once every three months and would still be grounded for one week.

I used this exception one spring in my junior year and as a result, missed a few softball games. But with two weeks left in the school year, I boo booed and made the call seeking another exception. No soap, as momma liked to say.

Instead, I got a “major grounding” and the only time I got to leave the house was for the last two weeks of school, the concession stand job at the amusement park and to church. And absolutely NO swimming pool whatsoever. Those 3 weeks of early summer were the LONGEST three weeks of my life! My girl buddy and workmate Angie kept my morale up and after that experience -I was NEVER late on curfew ever again.

And momma’s strap you ask? I would have been sorely tempted to opt for it but momma once said, “Renee darling, the best punishment for a 16 year old forgetting curfew  is to deprive her of the means of socializing.”

Boy, she got that right!

 

MORE REV. WADE

Renee, if that’s your real name, are these words? In today’s stressed out world, wouldn’t it be great if everyone practiced “Forgiving” and “Forgiveness”? Because hate, anger and resentment left inside yourself will (and does) only hurt you.
I think you hate me with a passion, and everybody else who disagrees with you on this controversial issue of Corporal Punishment. It’s not a few people who disagree with you. Are you teaching children to hate? Go ahead and hate someone if you disagree with them. By the way Alabama is ranked 49th in the nation in education.
Peace, (I hope you find it.)
Rev. Wade …. Presbyterian Church (USA)

😡 Huh? What are you talking about? Speaking not just for myself but the others as well: We at TWP do not “hate” ANYONE -Only the horrible things some people say to advance their anti c.p. agenda. We can agree to disagree in a civil manner -Thats the way it should be.

As to the south’s educational achievement gap: It was there long before the anti c.p. movement was born. We work every day trying to narrow that gap and our “kids” are closing that gap. We, as educators, are suceeding one child at a time.

Rev. Wade, you seem to know a lot about “hate”. Don’t allow it to consume you because your tone seems to lean in that direction.

 

COMING NEXT: A “WRONG” PADDLE,

AFTERMATH III

&

R.C. pt. XXIII

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